Your Guide To A Ruptured Eardrum

Your Guide To A Ruptured Eardrum

Just like our other body parts, we usually don’t think anything is wrong with our ears until one sudden thing changes all that. With our ears, it could be the sudden burst of a ruptured eardrum or perforated eardrum as it’s also commonly known.

Other times, we might not even know that our eardrum has ruptured, but could be experiencing other symptoms. Ear care is an essential part of our wellbeing and taking care of problems like this now means less chance they can do more damage later.

This guide to perforated eardrums and ruptured eardrums will delve a little deeper into what the condition is, how long it can take to heal, and what symptoms you might feel if you have a blown eardrum. The common occurrence can happen to many people so treating it the right way is essential.

What Causes A Ruptured Eardrum?

Your Guide To A Ruptured Eardrum

A ruptured eardrum occurs when you get a tear or small hole in your eardrum. The medical term for this is the tympanic membrane which is the thin tissue located between your middle and outer ear canal.

Another term for this is a perforated eardrum and it’s usually more serious. While a ruptured eardrum can cause some hearing problems, a perforated eardrum can lead to severe and permanent hearing loss. There are a few things that can cause these conditions:

  • Infection - Children commonly get ruptured eardrums as a result of a middle ear infection but also can get them as well. When the fluid builds up behind the eardrum during these infections, it can cause the membrane to break suddenly. 
  • Pressure changes - There are a few scenarios where a severe and sudden change in pressure could cause a ruptured eardrum. This includes flying in an airplane, scuba diving, shockwaves, being in high altitudes, and direct impact on your ear.
  • Trauma or injury - Trauma to the head or ears can cause a ruptured eardrum. This could include anything from an object falling on your ear to being in a car accident. Placing objects inside your ear like a cotton swab or even a long fingernail can cause this to occur.

The Symptoms Of A Ruptured Eardrum

Perforated eardrum symptoms differ for everyone so it can be hard to diagnose without seeing a health professional. Here are some things you might notice if you have a ruptured eardrum:

  • Intense and sudden pain can indicate your eardrum has ruptured;
  • Milder and more drawn out pain throughout the day might also indicate a rupture, as can pain that gets worse or lessens over time.
  • Fluids coming from the ear that are water, bloody, or pus-filled.
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    Other illnesses that are common with ear infections like colds or flu.
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    Hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or reduction in hearing.
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    Dizziness or feeling unsteady on your feet or unbalanced.

People often assume that pain is the only way to tell whether or not your eardrum has burst, but that’s not always the case. However, for those who are experiencing pain, usually, your ear will start draining once the pain has stopped.

Diagnosis Of A Ruptured Eardrum

diagnosis of a ruptured eardrum

Diagnosing yourself with a ruptured eardrum is near impossible to tell as you usually need someone to look into your ear to determine that. If you suspect you’re having problems with your ear or are experiencing some of the above symptoms, a doctor is the best person to see.

From there, they will usually do one of a few things to diagnose you. They might check inside your ear canal to see if there are signs of rupturing or testing your hearing. Otherwise, they could take a sample of the fluid that’s been leaking from your ear to test it for signs of infection.

Treatment For A Ruptured Eardrum

So, how long does a perforated eardrum take to heal? Depending on what caused the rupture and how serious the impact was, this can differ. If your doctor believes it won’t be able to heal on its own or there have been more serious implications, they may offer one of the following treatment options:

  • Specialist - If your doctor is unable to treat the eardrum they may refer to an ENT specialist who has more expertise in the area. 
  • Antibiotics - If your ruptured eardrum was caused due to an infection, a doctor may be able to prescribe you with antibiotics to treat it, thus helping your ear heal. 
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    Patching - This is a procedure done to help eardrums heals which helps the membrane to grow back faster.
  • Home remedies - In cases where it’s not severe, there are some things you can do to treat a ruptured eardrum at home. Try to avoid blowing your nose as it can create pressure and use a warm heat pack on your ear to relieve it. 
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    Surgery - If there is a hole in your eardrum from perforation, you may need surgery to patch it up. This means tissue from another part of your body will be used to patch up the eardrum.

A Serious Problem For Your Health And Hearing

Having a ruptured eardrum is a common thing, whether you go it flying on a plane or during flu season. However, the symptoms should not be ignored as they have the potential to worsen and in a case of a perforated eardrum, cause permanent hearing loss.

Suffering from a loss of hearing or reduced ability to hear can seriously impact our lives, and it’s something that you’ll never realize you could miss so much. Therefore, taking care of our ears and being responsive to any changes that might be happening with our hearing or feelings in them is essential to report to a health professional.

Resources:

WebMD

MayoClinic

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