A perforated ear drum is most commonly caused by infection or trauma. Most perforations will eventually heal spontaneously. When a perforation has been diagnosed, it is important to keep the affected ear dry to prevent an infection which will cause the perforation to fail to heal. Some perforations do not heal over time and become permanent. Although an ear drum perforation is not life threatening, it can cause significant hearing loss and make the ear more prone to recurrent infections.
A perforated ear drum can be repaired by a surgical procedure known as a myringoplasty. The pros and cons of undergoing this procedure should be discussed with an otolaryngologist.