Hole in the ear drum (Perforation)

What is the function of our ear drum?

The primary function of the ear drum is to efficiently transmit sound waves into the middle ear, and onwards into the sensory organ called the cochlea. In addition, it protects our middle ear from external contamination, thus preventing infections.

What are its symptoms?

A perforation (hole) in the ear drum can therefore cause a hearing loss, and an ear infection with discharge. The hearing loss may or may not cause problems in day to day communications at work, with family members or friends. A perforation of the ear drum does mean taking precautions whilst showering or swimming. Diving is best avoided.

How is it treated?

If the hearing loss causes problems with communication or to avoid ear infections, and take part in water sports surgery can be performed. This procedure is called a Myringoplasty. The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic. The success rate in patients with a dry perforation is approximately 90%.

Ear anatomy
Picture of an ear drum perforation
Ear surgery using a microscope