What's the difference between: 耳膜 and 鼓膜?

Apparently they both check out to eardrum in English.

汉语大辞典, even, defines 耳膜 as


Can 鼓膜 be used in other places then?

  • no, 鼓膜 is just means eardrum, doesn't have other meanings
    – biubiubiu
    Jan 20, 2015 at 7:26

3 Answers 3


The dictionary takes extra caution and says it's the membrane in the ear, because 鼓膜 literally means "drum membrane", which might be taken by someone as the membrane on a real drum.

In real usage, however, 鼓膜 is just the eardrum. The membrane on a drum instrument, or the drum head, is called 鼓皮.

  • Any examples/excerpts/quotes/etc?
    – Mou某
    Jan 20, 2015 at 13:20
  • @user3306356 You can find lots of examples by searching 鼓皮 and 鼓膜 on line. Jan 20, 2015 at 14:52

耳膜and 鼓膜 refer to same thing. 膜,membrane。耳膜,get its name from the position of it. 鼓膜,get its name from its way of working--like the leather cover of a drum. 《高级汉语词典》:耳膜:鼓膜。 and translation to 耳膜:eardrum; 鼓膜: tympanic membrane.


鼓膜 is a medical terms, translated from Western world. It is seldom said in casual conversation. Say 耳膜 instead.

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