Tympanic membrane perforation; Eardrum - ruptured or perforated; Perforated eardrum
A ruptured eardrum is an opening or hole in the thin layer of tissue (eardrum) that separates the outer and middle ear.
The eardrum vibrates when sound waves strike it. These vibrations then pass through the bones of the middle ear. They stimulate the inner ear, sending nerve impulses to the brain. When the eardrum is damaged, the hearing process is interrupted.
Ear infections may cause a ruptured eardrum, more often in children. The infection causes pus or fluid to build up behind the eardrum. As the pressure increases, the eardrum may break open or rupture.
Damage to the eardrum can also occur from:
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Bauer CA, Jenkins HA. Otologic symptoms and syndromes. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, Robbins KT, Thomas JR, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2005:chap 126.
Ramakrishnan K, Sparks RA, Berryhill WE. Diagnosis and treatment of otitis media. Am Fam Physician. 2007;76(11):1650-1658.
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