A perforated or burst eardrum is a hole in the eardrum. It’ll usually heal within a few weeks and might not need any treatment.
But see your GP if you think your eardrum has burst, as it can cause problems like ear infections.
Symptoms of a burst eardrum can include:
- sudden hearing loss
- earache in your ear
- itching in your ear
- tinnitus – noises like ringing or buzzing in your ear
- fluid leaking from your ear
- a high temperature.
It’s important not to get water or any other liquid in your ear while your eardrum is burst, as this can cause an infection in the middle ear.
A perforated eardrum can be caused by:
- serious ear infections, such as untreated otitis media
- injury to the eardrum, caused by, for example, a severe blow to the ear or poking things in your ear
- sudden loud noise, such as an explosion, accompanied by a pressure change
- rapid changes in air pressure, such as when changing altitude in an aeroplane, or when scuba diving.
A perforated eardrum normally heals on its own within two months.
For more serious damage, usually following repeated episodes of otitis media, you might need an operation called a myringoplasty, where a tissue graft is used to seal up the hole.
See the NHS website to find out when to see a GP and what you can do to reduce the chances of your ear becoming infected while your eardrum heals.