What is a Perforated Eardrum?

The tympanic membrane also called the eardrum or myringa is a thin, cone-shaped membrane whose function is to transmit sound from the air to the ossicles. The eardrum converts and amplifies the vibration that enables us to hear sounds clearly. If the eardrum gets ruptured or develops a hole due to any reason, it can lead to conductive hearing loss and other problems like cholesteatoma. 

Regardless of the factors that caused a perforation in the eardrum, you may require treatment. In the majority of cases where the patient has a hole in the eardrum, it heals within three months with minimal intervention. 

If medicines don’t provide the expected results, the doctor will suggest patching or eardrum repair surgery (tympanoplasty). The surgery is performed by an ENT surgeon. Therefore, you should contact a reliable and experienced ENT specialist to get proper treatment for a perforated eardrum. 

Top ENT Specialist

Dr. Abhinav Raj


9 Years Experience

Book Appointment

Dr. Guruprashad Shetty


14 Years Experience

Book Appointment

Dr. Himani Indeewar


11 Years Experience

Book Appointment
  • Middle ear infection
  • Sudden changes in air pressure inside the ear
  • Sudden loud noise
  • Injury from an object put inside the ear
  • A very hard blow to the ear or head such as from an explosion
  • Accidental damage during ear syringing (a procedure used to rinse out ear wax or other blockages)
  • Disorders associated with the “Eustachian tube” (the tube that controls the pressure inside the middle ear)
  • Whistling sounds when you sneeze or blow your nose
  • Reduced hearing ability or hearing loss
  • Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Inflammation of the middle ear
  • Infection
  • Earache
  • Pus-like discharge from the ear canal, which may have blood
When you come for a consultation with an ENT specialist at our clinic, there will be no waiting time and you can meet the doctor right at the time of appointment. The doctor will begin with a general examination and will look into your ear with the use of an instrument known as an “otoscope” to look inside the ear and check if the eardrum is torn or ruptured. Your doctor will also test your hearing and would also be interested to know about your symptoms, their severity, since when have you been having those, etc. If the doctor suspects that you have a perforated eardrum, you will be suggested the right treatment for your condition.
Treatment for perforated eardrums will mainly depend on the severity. If the hole in the ear is small, the ENT doctor may want to give it some time to heal on its own and may prescribe you antibiotics to prevent infection while the perforated eardrum heals. While doing so, you will be advised to keep water out of your injured ear, and avoid blowing your nose too hard as doing so can cause pressure changes in the ear and interrupt the healing. If the eardrum does not heal with medications and following precautions for about 2 months, your ENT doctor may recommend you to undergo surgery for eardrum hole repair, known as the tympanoplasty. Tympanoplasty or eardrum hole repair surgery is not a very invasive surgery and is performed on an outpatient basis. In this surgery, the ENT doctor uses tissue from another part of the body (usually from the back of the ear) to patch (or fix) the eardrum. The procedure is performed under the influence of anesthesia, local or general, depending on the patient’s preference. Tympanoplasty surgery is covered by most corporate and private health insurance and has a success rate as high as 100%.
  • Having ear infections
  • History of eardrum ruptures
  • Previous ear surgery
  • Scuba diving
  • Injury to the ear
  • Inserting foreign objects in the ear
  • Activities that involve rapid pressure changes
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Get proper rest and limit your activities for the first 7 to 10 days after the surgery.
  • Return to daily activities when you are able to sleep well, eat a regular diet, and no longer need pain medications.
  • Do not strain your nose for 5 to 7 days. If you have to sneeze or cough, do so with your mouth open.
  • Avoid blowing your nose for 2 weeks after surgery.
  • Take pain medications prescribed by the doctor to get relief from the discomfort.
  • Take antibiotic medicines without any failure.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to the incision 2 times a day.
  • Remove dressing after 24 hours of surgery.
  • Keep your ears dry and avoid washing your hair every day. When you are taking a bath, keep your ears covered or use a petroleum jelly-covered cotton plug/bud to prevent water from entering your ears.
  • There will be some blood-tinged discharge from the ear after a few days of surgery. It is common but if the bleeding persists or the discharge becomes discolored or has a foul odor, contact the doctor immediately.
  • Visit the doctor timely for follow-up appointments.

Frequently Asked Question

Yes. A perforated eardrum may heal on its own if the rupture or hole is minor. However, it will still take weeks or months and during this period, your hearing ability may not be optimal. Therefore, the best thing to do is to consult an ENT specialist and get their help so that the eardrum can heal properly and quickly.

Tympanoplasty cost varies from one patient to another depending on various factors like severity of the condition, surgeon’s fee, diagnostic tests, hospital expenses, medication charges, etc. You can get an estimate of the surgery from your healthcare provider and then decide where you want to undergo the procedure.
In general, tympanoplasty usually takes around 1 to 2 hours. But the time duration may vary due to some factors like the age of the patient, size of the perforation, severity of the infection, etc. The best thing is to discuss such aspects with the doctor after he/she diagnoses your condition.
Under the care of our ENT specialists, the success rate of tympanoplasty is more than 87%. Our doctors are well-experienced and trained in performing the surgery with maximum safety. They also know how to mitigate the risks associated with the procedure to make the surgery safe for the patient.
Full recovery from tympanoplasty may take around 2-3 months. But you will be able to perform daily activities after a few days. Your hearing will also improve gradually. During the recovery phase, the doctor will inspect the reconstructed eardrum and gently clean the ear canal.
No. The surgery itself doesn’t inflict any kind of pain as you will be under anesthesia. Once the anesthesia wears out, you may feel mild pain or discomfort in the ear for the first 24 hours due to the dressing placed over the ear. Once the dressing is removed, the discomfort will also subside.
In many cases, the ringing sound, i.e., tinnitus persists for some time after surgery. As the eardrum heals, your hearing will improve and the sound will also start to fade away. If it doesn’t go away after a few weeks, then you should visit your doctor.
After surgery, you need to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that have all the essential nutrients and fiber needed for quicker recovery. You can also eat frozen or canned items. But make sure that you avoid processed foods.

What can happen if the eardrum does not heal on its own?

If your eardrum (tympanic membrane) is ruptured and it doesn’t heal on its own or even with medications in three to six months, some major complications can arise. These complications include:

  • Hearing Loss- Either temporary or permanent hearing loss can occur if the perforated eardrum does not heal. The size and location of the tear will also impact the degree of hearing loss. 
  • Middle Ear Infection- Otitis media or middle ear infection happens as the bacteria get entry into the middle ear through the rupture. In case the infection reaches inside the middle ear, you will become more vulnerable to a recurrent or chronic infection that can lead to hearing loss. 
  • Middle Ear Cyst- Also known as cholesteatoma, a cyst may form in the middle ear due to the deposition of skin cells and other debris. Once a cyst starts to form, it creates an environment where bacteria and other proteins that can damage the middle ear bone can grow rapidly. 


Consult An ENT Specialist to Repair the Ruptured Eardrum/Tympanic Membrane

If you have had symptoms like ear pain, hearing loss, etc. for quite some time, you should consult an ENT specialist. You can get in touch with us and schedule an appointment with any of our expert doctors. They will diagnose you thoroughly and suggest a viable treatment method that allows you to regain your hearing abilities. 

If the medical treatments are not effective, the doctor will recommend eardrum patching or eardrum repair surgery (tympanoplasty) as required. Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor will choose one of these methods and repair the eardrum hole safely. 

To learn more about the procedures, you can get in touch with us and clear all your doubts and concerns with the help of our ENT specialists. 


How to prevent the eardrum from rupturing?

If you want to make sure that the eardrum is protected and doesn’t get ruptured again, you’ll have to take some precautions. Here are some preventative measures that will ensure that you don’t have to face the same problem again. 

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of ear infections. The common signs include earache, fever, reduced hearing, etc. Whenever you notice these signs, be prompt to visit an ENT specialist and get proper treatment. 
  • Protect your ears while you are traveling through airplanes. If possible, avoid flying if you have a cold or active allergy that causes nasal or ear congestion. Or you can use pressure-equalizing earplugs, yawning, or chewing gum during takeoffs and landings. Also, make sure that you don’t fall asleep during the ascent and descent. 
  • Do not attempt to dig out the excess or hardened ear wax using foreign objects like a cotton swab, paper clip, or hairpin. These objects can easily puncture or tear up the tympanic membrane. 
  • Do not expose your ears to explosions or very loud noise. If your work profile involves producing explosive noises, wear protection to protect your ears from the noise. 

Our Latest Blog

ENT Specialists available in these cities