Tympanic membrane perforation, or a ruptured eardrum, is a hole in the eardrum (tympanic membrane).

The eardrum is a very thin membrane made of tissue that separates the middle ear from the ear canal. The eardrum aids in hearing and in preventing bacteria and other foreign matter from entering the middle ear.

The Eardrum
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Eardrums may rupture from a variety of causes, including:

  • Ear infections
  • Puncture from use of a Q-tip or other device inserted in the ear canal
  • Damage to the ear, such as being slapped or hit
  • Pressure building up inside the middle ear, as may occur with scuba diving