What is a Perforated Eardrum?
Your eardrum or tympanic membrane is a layer of thin tissues that separates your ear canal from your middle ear. A tear or rupture in this membrane is referred to as a perforated eardrum. This tympanic membrane perforation or a ruptured eardrum can be accompanied by pain and may lead to temporary hearing impairment. It can leave your middle ear vulnerable to infections. Usually a perforated eardrum heals itself within a couple of months. If not, surgery may be required to prevent any further damage.
If you are showing some or all of its common systems, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!
What Causes a Perforated Eardrum?
From trauma to ear infections, a number of things can lead to a perforated eardrum.
- Acoustic trauma from sudden loud sounds such as gun shots and explosions may rupture an eardrum
- Inserting foreign objects like Q-tip or bobby pin deep inside your pin may result in a perforated eardrum
- Severe injuries like a skull fracture or direct slap to an ear may cause dislocation or perforation of an eardrum
- A middle ear infection (otitis media) leads to accumulation of infected fluids in your middle ear. Intense pressure from these fluids against the eardrum may rupture it
- Barotrauma may also perforate an eardrum. When the outside pressure is not equal to the pressure inside your ear, the eardrum may be damaged. Sudden changes in altitudes may lead to a perforated eardrum
What are the Symptoms of a Perforated Eardrum?
Following are some of the most common symptoms of a perforated eardrum:
- Sudden sharp pain in your ear
- Bloody, clear or puss-filled drainage from your ear
- Ringing noise (tinnitus) or buzzing in your ear
- Partial or complete hearing loss
- Facial weakness
- Dizziness or Vertigo
- Vertigo induced vomiting
- If you have accumulation of infected fluids in your ear and you notice a sudden decrease in pressure and pain, your eardrum may have ruptured
Following complications may develop because of serious ear perforation:
Hearing Loss: Your eardrum helps translate sound waves into nerve impulses. The bigger the hole in your eardrum the more impaired your hearing will be. Sudden trauma may also lead to substantial hearing loss. Hearing gets better once the perforated eardrum is healed.
Chronic Otitis Media: Ruptured eardrum may leave your middle ear vulnerable to repeated attacks of bacterial and fungal infections.
Cholesteatoma: if not properly healed, a perforated eardrum may assist the development of a pouch or a cyst in your middle ear called Cholesteatoma. It can lead to infection and damage ear bones.
What are the Risk Factors for a Perforated Eardrum?
If your Eustachian tube (the passage that connects middle ear to the back of your nose) is narrow by birth and you suffer from chronic Eustachian tube problems you are at a higher risk for a perforated eardrum.
When Should I see a Doctor?
If you experience any of the symptoms of a perforated eardrum, consult an experienced ENT specialist as soon as possible. He/she can help evaluate the extent of damage and can help you prevent serious complications.
How is a Perforated Eardrum Diagnosed?
Following procedures can be used to diagnose a perforated eardrum:
- You doctor may look inside your ear with the help of a lit device called otoscope, to see if the eardrum is ruptured.
- He/she may blow a puff of air into your ear to check if the eardrum moves. A ruptured eardrum will not move.
- An audiology test with the help of a series of tones may help your doctor examine the extent of hearing loss.
How is a Perforated Eardrum Treated?
Following treatment options are available:
- If the perforation is small, you doctor may closely observe the perforation overtime and allow it to heal on its own. In the mean time you may advised to keep your ears clean and dry.
- In case of an infection, he/she may prescribe antibacterial eardrops or oral antibiotics.
- If the perforation is significant in size, the doctor may use a patch to cover it.
- In severe cases, surgery is recommended. The surgeon will attach a piece of your own tissue to the eardrum to help it rebuild.
A perforated eardrum is a condition that must be addressed as soon as it is suspected. If you are showing some or all of its common systems, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!
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OTHER HELPFUL NOSE, SINUS & ALLERGY FACT SHEETS:
- A Quick Glossary for Good Ear Health
- Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease
- Better Ear Health
- The Necessity of Early Intervention in Hearing
- Middle Ear Infection (Chronic Otitis Media) and Hearing Loss
- Cochlear-Meningitis Vaccination
- Cochlear Implants
- Day Care and Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
- Ear Infection and Vaccines
- Ear Plastic Surgery
- Ears and Altitude
- Genes and Hearing Loss
- Hearing Loss
- Hyperacusis: An increased sensitivity to everyday sounds
- Infant Hearing Loss
- Children's Hearing Health
- Noise and Hearing Protection
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children
- Pediatric Obesity and Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders
- Travel Tips for the Hearing Impaired
- What You Should Know About Otosclerosis
- When Your Child Has Tinnitus
- Ear Infection and Hearing Loss