4-11. PERFORATION OF TYMPANIC MEMBRANE
a. Description. The tympanic membrane, the part of the middle ear which is
also called the eardrum, is very delicate. This membrane can be injured by violent
vibrations of air such as the explosion of a bomb or the firing of a heavy gun. Diving
and blows to the head with cupped hands can also cause a perforation (hole or series of
holes) in the tympanic membrane.
Figure 4-7. Structures of the ear showing the tympanic membrane.
b. Signs and Symptoms. Included are the following:
Severe pain initially.
Tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, or roaring noises in the ear).
Hearing loss, sometimes.
c. Treatment. DO NOT put medications in the ear. DO NOT put packing in the
ear. Put a dressing on the external ear to keep the ear dry and clean. Then, follow this
Restrict the patient from flying, swimming, and contact with loud noises.
Advise the patient to keep water out of his ear.