Tympanic Membrane (Ear Drum) Perforation Pediatric Care Plan

By David Shafran, MD
Medically reviewed
December 9, 2020

What is a Perforated Tympanic Membrane?

The tympanic membrane, or ear drum, is crucial for hearing and acts as a barrier between the outer and middle ear spaces. Holes or perforations in the tympanic membrane usually result from a middle ear infection infection or trauma. If this occurs, it’s very important to treat any infection that might be present and allow the tympanic membrane to heal which usually happens on its own within hours to a couple of days. 

Symptoms of a perforated tympanic membrane can include:

  • Loss of hearing
  • A ringing or whooshing sound in the ear
  • Ear pain
  • Drainage from the ear

Perforated Tympanic Membrane Treatment

A perforated tympanic membrane will usually heal on its own within hours to a couple of days. If an infection is believed to be the cause, your child’s provider will prescribe antibiotics. Tylenol or ibuprofen can be used to relieve any pain.

After treatment you should followup with your child’s provider to make sure that the hole in the eardrum is closed. If it has not closed, you will be referred to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. In some cases, surgery is needed to close the hole in the ear drum.

Check in with K if….

  • You have general questions about your child’s condition
  • You want general followup for your child
  • You have questions about supportive care

See a doctor in person if…

All patients with a suspected hole in their ear drum should see their provider to confirm the diagnosis and ensure proper healing.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

David Shafran, MD

Dr. Shafran is a board-certified pediatrics physician. He joins K Health from the Cleveland Clinic, where he led a pediatrics practice and completed a fellowship in transplant ethics. He has completed multiple fellowships, including one in pediatric nephrology at Rainbow, Babies & Children's University Hospitals. He received his medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv and completed his medical residency at the Jacobi Medical Center.