The tympanic membrane, or ear drum, serves as the window into the middle ear. Direct observation of the tympanic membrane and external auditory canal through an otoscope, offers valuable information about possible disease within the middle ear. This section briefly illustrates some important common pathologies and compares them to what you’ll observe in a normal ear canal and tympanic membrane.

 

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Normal Tympanic Membrane

The normal tympanic membrane is a pale, gray, ovoid, semi-transparent membrane located at the end of the external auditory canal.