A ruptured eardrum can occur due to several reasons, primarily an infection or loud noise that tends to damage it. In medical terms, it is also called as a ruptured tympanic membrane.
The eardrum is a thin membrane that separates the ear canal from the middle ear. A ruptured eardrum is a serious condition and can result in complete or partial hearing loss. Most of the time the drum heals on its own but at times it requires surgical intervention.
Symptoms of a Ruptured Ear Drum
A ruptured eardrum has typical symptoms like pain in the ear, which becomes chronic, nausea, , vertigo, giddiness, pus from the ear and tinnitus. The symptoms can be very debilitating and it is essential to seek immediate treatment in case of a ruptured eardrum. The ear is a very sensitive organ and neglecting any of the above symptoms can lead to a complete loss of hearing.
Causes of a Ruptured Eardrum
Ear infections are a common cause of eardrum rupture, especially in children. During an ear infection, fluids accumulate behind the eardrum. The pressure from the fluid buildup can cause the tympanic membrane to break or rupture.
Other activities can cause pressure changes in the ear and lead to a perforated eardrum. This is known as barotrauma, and it mainly occurs when the pressure outside the ear is drastically different from the pressure inside the ear. Activities that can cause barotrauma include
Treatment for a Ruptured Eardrum
If the tear or hole in your eardrum doesn’t close on its own, an ENT specialist may seal it with a patch. With this office procedure, your ENT doctor may apply a chemical to the edges of the tear to stimulate growth and then apply a patch over the hole. The procedure may need to be repeated more than once before the hole closes.
If you feel that you have a ruptured ear drum there are certain steps you can take to treat it.
Antibiotics can clear up infections that might have led to your eardrum rupture. They also protect you from developing new infections from the perforation. Your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or medicated eardrops. You may also be told to use both forms of medication.
Do not clean your ears or place ear buds inside. Allow your eardrum to heal completely. Protect yourself from cold weather. A bout of sneezing or a racking cough can cause your eardrum to burst.
It is important to take preventive steps for ear infections like good personal hygiene and protecting your ears against harsh sounds and frequent air travel.