A perforated eardrum is a hole or rupture in the eardrum. It is most often seen in pediatric patients, frequently caused by a middle ear infection or trauma, such as a sports injury or hitting the water (lake/pool) with significant force. A perforated eardrum is often accompanied by decreased hearing and discharge or bleeding. The amount of hearing loss experienced depends on the degree and location of the perforation. Sometimes a perforated eardrum will heal spontaneously; other times surgery may be needed to repair the hole with a procedure such as tympanoplasty, myringoplasty, or paper patch. If the tympanic membrane perforation is due to trauma, it is best that the patient be evaluated within two-three days following the injury. Additionally, serious problems can occur if water or bacteria enter the middle ear through the hole, so immediate precautions should be taken prior to your office evaluation with Dr. Bryan or Dr. Mettman.