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Ruptured eardrum

  • Alternative Names

    Tympanic membrane perforation; Eardrum - ruptured or perforated; Perforated eardrum

    • Drainage from the ear (drainage may be clear, pus, or bloody)
    • Ear noise/buzzing
    • Earache or ear discomfort
      • May be severe and increasing
      • There may be a sudden decrease in ear pain followed by drainage from the ear
    • Hearing loss in the affected ear (hearing loss may not be total)
    • Weakness of the face, or dizziness (in more severe cases)

    Signs and tests

    The doctor will look in your ear with an instrument called an otoscope or a microscope. If the eardrum is ruptured, the doctor will see an opening in it, and may even see the bones of the middle ear.

    Sometimes it is hard for the doctor to see the eardrum because of drainage (pus) from the ear.

    Audiology testing can measure how much hearing has been lost.