If you have a perforated eardrum, your hearing may be affected.
The extent of any hearing loss will depend on the size of the hole in your eardrum. A small puncture may only cause a slight loss of hearing, whereas a large puncture is likely to cause greater hearing loss.
The hearing loss is only temporary and your hearing will return once your eardrum has healed.
As well as hearing loss, a perforated eardrum may cause the following symptoms:
earache or discomfort
- a discharge of mucus from your ear
- ringing or buzzing in your ear (tinnitus)
Risk of infection
The eardrum forms a protective barrier that prevents germs and bacteria from entering your middle ear. Therefore, if you have a perforated eardrum, your risk of developing an ear infection is increased.
If you have an infection of the middle ear, your symptoms may include:
- severe earache, due to the pressure of the mucus on the eardrum
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- slight hearing loss
Spotting an ear infection in children
Children who have an ear infection may also develop flu-like symptoms, such as vomiting and a lack of energy. Babies with ear infections will be hot and irritable.
Other signs of an ear infection in children and babies are:
Last updated: 09 November 2012
- pulling, tugging or rubbing their ear
- a high temperature (38C or above)
- poor feeding
- restlessness at night
- runny nose
- not responding to quiet sounds
- loss of balance
Continue to next section: Causes of a perforated eardrum