The eardrum sits in the deep ear canal and separates the external ear canal (EAC) from the middle ear space. The eardrum is made of three thin tissue layers and is attached to the ear bones (called ossicles).
Sometimes, the eardrum can rupture (or “perforate”) when subjected to severe infection or pressure. While most eardrum perforations heal over time, some holes can persist and cause problems such as hearing loss, middle ear infections, mastoiditis, and, in the worst case, cholesteatomas (skin tumors in the middle ear).
Eardrum holes can be fixed by placing materials across the hole to encourage healing. Small holes can be addressed in the office, while larger ones may need surgery under anesthesia. Pre-operative evaluations include hearing tests and CT scans of the ear.