Ruptured Eardrums 101
posted by The Live Better Team | September 22, 2017
Known medically as tympanic membrane perforation, a ruptured (or perforated) eardrum occurs when a hole or tear forms in the thin tissue that separates your ear canal from your middle ear (your eardrum). A ruptured eardrum can lead to hearing loss and can also make the eardrum vulnerable to additional injury or infections. Some cases heal relatively quickly on their own, while others may require a procedure or surgical repair.
Symptoms and Complications
Signs and symptoms of a ruptured eardrum can include:
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor. The ears are a very sensitive area prone to injury or disease, and speedy treatment is important for preserving hearing.
The eardrum is in charge of both managing hearing and protecting the middle ear from water, bacteria and other threats. Complications from ruptured eardrums can occur during healing, or due to a failure to heal. These complications might include:
Causes of a ruptured or perforated eardrum can include:
Diagnosis and Treatment
In many cases, diagnosing a perforated eardrum is as simple as a visual exam using an otoscope (lighted instrument). Additional tests may be ordered to determine the cause of the rupture or the degree of the damage, including:
In most cases, perforated eardrums will heal on their own without treatment after a few weeks. If infection is present, you may be prescribed antibiotic drops. If the tear or hole does not heal on its own, treatment procedures to close it may include:
There are a few things you can do to avoid a ruptured or perforated eardrum:
If you or your child has a ruptured eardrum, speak to your doctor right away about diagnosis and treatment options.
Our specialists have received extensive training and completed a variety of procedures, offering the best ENT care for our patients. Our team also has access to a variety of specialties to ensure that patients receive coordinated care.
“Ruptured eardrum (perforated eardrum).” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ruptured-eardrum/home/ovc-20265959
“Ruptured Eardrum: Symptoms and Treatments.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/ruptured-eardrum-symptoms-and-treatments#1
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.