Puncture wounds, hearing

Ear Nose | General Practice | Puncture wounds, hearing (Disease)


A puncture wound of the ear can perforate the eardrum. A perforated eardrum exists when there is a hole or rupture in the eardrum, the thin membrane that separates the outer ear canal from the middle ear.

Causes and Risk factors

A perforated eardrum may cause temporary hearing loss and occasional discharge. When it is perforated, bacteria can more easily get into this part of the ear, causing ear infections. In general, the larger the hole in the eardrum, the greater the temporary loss of hearing. The location of the perforation also affects the degree of hearing loss. Severe hearing loss may follow a skull fracture that disrupts the bones in the middle ear.

Eardrum perforation caused by a loud noise may result in ringing in the ear (tinnitus), in addition to a temporary hearing loss. Over time, this hearing loss improves and the ringing usually fades in a few days.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A perforated eardrum usually heals by itself within two months. Antibiotics may be given to prevent infection or to treat an existing ear infection. Painkillers can relieve any ear pain. Sometimes, a paper patch is placed over the eardrum until the membrane heals. Three or four patches may be needed before the perforation closes completely. If the eardrum does not heal on its own, surgical repair (tympanoplasty) may be necessary. ...