Medical Definition of Perforated eardrum

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Perforated eardrum: a disruption, hole, or other type of defect in the tympanic membrane of the ear (eardrum). Also known as ruptured eardrum, tympanic membrane perforation. Ear infections and insertion of foreign objects into the ear are both common causes of perforated eardrum. Perforated eardrum is a risk factor for further ear infection because the perforation allows bacteria to enter the middle ear. Symptoms can include a sharp pain that occurs suddenly, or the symptoms of an earache like pain and pressure may go away suddenly. Perforation of an eardrum can also occur without causing any specific symptoms.

See also eardrum.

Reviewed on 11/27/2017


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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