PROFESSOR TONY WRIGHT, INSTITUTE OF LARYNGOLOGY & OTOLOGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PROFESSOR TONY WRIGHT, INSTITUTE OF LARYNGOLOGY & OTOLOGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Perforated eardrum. View along the external ear canal showing a perforated eardrum (tympanic membrane). A perforated eardrum often causes a brief intense pain, with bleeding & discharge from the ear. Some reduction in hearing is usual. The most common cause is due to a build-up of pus in acute otitis media, or infection of the middle ear. It may also be associated with a cholesteatoma (a chronic disease of the middle ear), through direct injury, a nearby explosion or pressure damage through flying or diving. Treatment is based on antibiotics, with surgical repair reserved for difficult cases.
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