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What do eardrums do?

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The eardrum serves two important functions in your ear. It senses vibrating sound waves and converts the vibration into nerve impulses that convey the sound to your brain. It also protects the middle ear from bacteria as well as water and foreign objects. Normally, the middle ear is sterile. But when the eardrum is ruptured, bacteria can get into the middle ear and cause an infection known as otitis media.

From: Ruptured Eardrum: Symptoms and Treatments WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: "Ruptured eardrum."

Baylor College of Medicine: "Tympanic Membrane. Middle Ear and Mastoid Disease: Tymapnic Membrane Perforation."

University of Michigan Health System: "Ruptured Eardrum (Perforated Tympanic Membrane)."

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: "Ruptured Ear Drum."

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on January 17, 2017

SOURCES:

MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: "Ruptured eardrum."

Baylor College of Medicine: "Tympanic Membrane. Middle Ear and Mastoid Disease: Tymapnic Membrane Perforation."

University of Michigan Health System: "Ruptured Eardrum (Perforated Tympanic Membrane)."

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: "Ruptured Ear Drum."

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on January 17, 2017

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What can cause a ruptured eardrum?

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