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3.04 Perforated Tympanic Membrane (Ruptured ear drum)


The patient will present with ear pain after barotrauma, such as a blow to the ear or deep-water diving; or after direct trauma with a stick or other sharp object. Hemorrhage will often be noticed within the external canal and the patient will experience some hearing loss. Tinnitus or vertigo may also be present. Otoscopic examination will reveal a defect in the tympanic membrane that may or may not be accompanied by disruption of the ossicles.

What to do

What not to do:


Small uncomplicated perforations usually heal. When there is nystagmus, vertigo, profound hearing loss, or disruption of the ossicles, then early otolaryngologic consultation is advisable.

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from Buttaravoli & Stair: COMMON SIMPLE EMERGENCIES
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Craig Feied, MD
Mark Smith, MD
Jon Handler, MD
Michael Gillam, MD