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What Does it Mean if Your Eardrum is Perforated?

A perforated eardrum means that you have a tear or hole in the sterile, skin-like tissue (tympanic membrane) that separates your outer ear from your ear canal. Although you cannot see your eardrum, certain symptoms may suggest that you have damage to this area of your ear:

  • Pain and pressure that starts or stops suddenly
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (buzzing in your ears)
  • Pus coming out of your ear
  • Dizziness
  • Air exiting the ears when you blow your nose

Eardrum perforation can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Ear infection that causes pressure to build up in the middle ear, tearing the eardrum (common in children)
  • Change in air pressure (barotrauma) from airplanes, high altitude, scuba diving, etc.
  • Foreign object is stuck into the ear
  • Head injury or being hit in the ear
  • Loud noises

A healthy eardrum is important because it is the vibration of this membrane that allows you to hear sound waves. It’s also a protective piece of tissue that keeps bacteria, water and foreign objects from moving into your middle ear. If there is a hole in this tissue, your ears will be susceptible to infection and hearing loss.

In many cases a perforated eardrum will heal naturally. However, if you are experiencing any symptoms of a ruptured eardrum in Phoenix, AZ, contact a doctor to have the severity of your condition assessed. You may need antibiotics to treat an ear infection, an ear patch to promote healing or surgery. It is important to follow these tips while your ear heals:

  • Don’t blow your nose
  • Don’t use eardrops
  • Don’t swim
  • Don’t get in an airplane
  • Don’t put anything into your ear
  • Do chew gum and yawn often
  • Do wear earplugs if in a loud environment
  • Do keep your ears dry


If you think you might have a perforated eardrum in Phoenix, contact Biltmore ENT, Facial Plastics & Allergy to schedule an appointment. Our ear, nose and throat doctors in Arizona are specially trained to diagnose a perforated eardrum and provide treatment methods to protect your hearing. Please call (602) 956-1250 or visit our website at

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