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Tympanic Membrane Perforation


Tympanic Membrane Perforation (Discharge Care) Care Guide

  • Your tympanic membrane, or eardrum, is a stiff but movable oval membrane inside your ear. Your tympanic membrane separates your outer ear canal from your inner ear. A tympanic membrane perforation is a condition where your eardrum has a tear or hole in it. You may have normal or decreased hearing when your eardrum is torn. You may also have ear discharge, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing sound in the ear), or dizziness. Ear discharge may be clear, bloody, or yellowish and thick.

  • A mild eardrum perforation may heal on its own over time. Your caregiver may clean your ear, put a bandage over it, or place a cotton ear plug in your ear. Your eardrum may heal completely within a few weeks to a few months. You may need antibiotic medicine to treat or prevent an ear infection. If medicines do not work, you may need surgery such as a tympanoplasty or myringoplasty. Both surgeries are done to repair your eardrum hole using a tissue graft. A tympanoplasty is done if you also have damage to your inner ear. Treating your tympanic membrane perforation may resolve your symptoms, improve your hearing, and prevent further ear infections.



  • Keep a written list of the medicines you take, the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list of your medicines or the pill bottles when you see your caregivers. Learn why you take each medicine. Ask your caregiver for information about your medicine. Do not use any medicines, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements without first talking to caregivers.

  • Always take your medicine as directed by caregivers. Call your caregiver if you think your medicines are not helping or if you feel you are having side effects. Do not quit taking your medicines until you discuss it with your caregiver. If you are taking medicine that makes you drowsy, do not drive or use heavy equipment.

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by germs called bacteria. Antibiotics may be taken by mouth or given as liquid drops in one or both of your ears. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your caregiver. Antibiotic ear drops may damage your inner ear if you use them for longer than you should.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Follow-up visit information:

Ask your caregiver when to return for a follow-up visit. You may need repeat audiometry tests after you complete your medicines, or you have healed. Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit. Ask your caregiver when to return for these tests.

Self- care:

  • Always keep your ear dry. Avoid getting your ear wet such as when bathing or swimming. Water that gets inside your ear may cause your damaged eardrum to heal slowly. Getting water in your ear may also increase your risk for infection. Ask your caregiver for ways to protect your ear from getting water in it.

  • Do not put anything in your ear. Never put pointed objects, such as a pencil in your ear. Pointed objects may damage or worsen the damage in your eardrum. A cotton ear bud placed deep inside your ear may also damage your eardrum. Ask your caregiver for information on how to clean your ears correctly.

  • Only use ear medicines as directed by your caregiver. If you have ear drop medicine, ask your caregiver when you need to stop using it.

  • Try not to blow your nose. Blowing your nose may further damage your eardrum. Talk to your caregiver about medicines you can use if you have a cold or runny nose.


  • You feel dizzy or are throwing up.

  • You have worsening ear pain or a new buzzing sound in your ear.

  • Your symptoms do not improve after taking medicine ordered by your caregiver.

  • You have questions about your condition, treatment, or care.


  • You are bleeding from your ear.

  • You cannot move or feel areas of your face.

  • Your hearing loss gets worse.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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