Ruptured Eardrum: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 8/11/2020

A ruptured or perforated eardrum (tympanic membrane) occurs when there is a hole or tear in the tympanic membrane that separates the middle ear from the ear canal.

Signs and symptoms of a ruptured eardrum can include

Other associated symptoms and signs include

Pain may not be present if the cause is not an infection.

Causes of a ruptured eardrum

Relatively common causes of a ruptured eardrum include

  • middle ear infections,
  • trauma from car accidents,
  • sports injuries, and
  • putting foreign objects (like a cotton swab or a bobby pin) in the ear.

Other ruptured eardrum symptoms and signs


Ear Infection Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment See Slideshow

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.