Tympanic Membrane Perforation (A hole in the ear drum)
The tympanic membrane (ear drum) provides protection to the middle ear structures, and is part of the amplification system of the ear. Therefore a hole in this membrane increases the risk of infections as well as to cause degrees of hearing loss.
A perforation can be the result of trauma, or of acute and chronic infections.
The initial assessment requires microscopic examination, a formal hearing test, and often a CT scan of the ear, to exclude more serious conditions.
In general terms surgical closure of the hole is recommended, with the size and chronicity important factors dictating the complxity of the repair. Occasionally if the degree of hearing loss is only mild, and the ear is able to be kept completely dry, observation is recommended.