A hole in the ear drum can happen for a variety of reasons including trauma and infection. The main problems it can cause are hearing loss (mainly with larger perforations) and infections. The infections are often, but not always, associated with water exposure.
Most perforations will heal quite quickly but some do not and may need treatment. While the ear drum is perforated the ear should be protected from water and an ear plug should be used for swimming – if this doesn’t work, you may need to keep out of the water.
Surgical repair of the perforation is called myringoplasty – your ENT surgeon will discuss the options with you.