BO VEISLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BO VEISLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Perforated eardrum. Artwork of a perforated (torn) eardrum, or tympanic membrane, as seen from the outer ear. The hole is at left. The eardrum is a very thin membrane and can easily be torn by trauma, infection, a loud noise, or the insertion of a foreign object into the ear canal. This perforation is caused by glue ear (otitis media), an inflammation of the middle ear associated with pus (white) and fluid. The eardrum transmits sounds, by vibration, from the outer ear to the middle ear. Therefore perforation of the eardrum can reduce hearing. A perforated eardrum should heal within a month or so, but if badly damaged may require surgery.
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