DEAR DOCTOR K: I have a perforated eardrum caused by an ear infection. How will it be treated? Will my hearing be permanently affected?
DEAR READER: Your eardrum is a thin membrane involved in hearing. It separates your ear canal (the part that is open to the outside) from your middle ear. The eardrum is delicate -- and it has to be. Sound waves that enter your ear move the eardrum, which begins the process that allows you to hear.