Speaking of punctured things, my tympanic membrane isn't one of them. My ear started hurting on Tuesday night for no apparent reason. It was extremely sensitive to touch, shooting pain through my head anytime something touched the outer entrance to the ear canal. The rest of the time, the ear simply hurt, sometimes more than others, a low-level sort of throbbing. I decided I'd better get someone to look at it.
The pulmonary doc I first had look at it thought I had ruptured the ear drum. Then another said no, it was there and intact, but there was some redness that just didn't look right. They decided I'd better get an ENT doc to look at it. (They specifically said they wanted to be cautious because I'm a singer.) They managed to squeeze me in up at ENT, despite not having an appointment. ENT did a hearing test (hearing is normal), sent a puff of air into my ear to check for perforations (none), cleaned debris out of my ear with a vacuum thingy (not quite as pleasurable as when using a high-pressure stream of water), and did a visual inspection of my ear with a magnifying thingy. There's an accumulation of liquid behind the tympanum, but no perforations. Yay! And the doc cleared me for head banging at rugby, just as long as I apply my ear drops twice a day.