Ruptured Eardrum

25 July 2015 Ear and Hearing Dr. Taherian

The Eardrum is a thin membrane which separates the middle ear from the external ear.

Its most important task is to protect the middle and inner ear.

It is also called “tympanic membrane”. When air hits the eardrum, this membrane vibrates and transmits sounds to the inner ear and allows us to hear different sounds. The eardrum is a very delicate organ and could be damaged for many different reasons.

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What can cause an ear rupture?

  • -Pressing cotton swab or sharp objects into ear
  • -High toned sounds, I.e., explosion sounds
  • -Penetration of acidic and/or chemical material into the ear
  • -Penetration of heated/hot objects
  • -High water pressure while swimming or diving
  • -Middle ear infections and etc.

In most cases, eardrum rupture is recovered automatically but can take several weeks or months. No matter how long the recovery takes, there must be some basic necessary care during this time to increase the time of recovery. Some important care tips are mentioned below.

Necessary care during eardrum recovery:

  • Keep the eardrum dry. While bathing, lubricate a piece of cotton  and place it inside the ear hole to avoid penetration of water to  ear canals. If water penetrates the ear, it increases the chance of
    ear infections.
  • Do not walk in the rain without an umbrella.
  • Avoid traveling by airplane and using high speed elevators.
  • Avoid contact with people who may have contagious illnesses.
  • Avoid blowing your nose. If necessary, do so very gently and as little as possible
  • Sneeze and cough with open mouth.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects because it can put pressure on  eardrum.
  • If ruptured eardrum is not infected, it can recover automatically  within two months. In case of infection, it is still recoverable but  if the ruptured eardrum does not recover automatically, a surgery  may be mandatory.

 

What are the signs of ruptured eardrum?

  • Decreased hearing ability and sudden ear cape.
  • Sudden pain in ear.
  • Dirty discolored discharge.
  • Ear buzz or hearing sounds like wind puff.
  • Feeling of vertigo.

 

How do I know if a surgery is needed to recover eardrum rupture?

If the hole created in eardrum is small, it will recover on its own and  there is no need for surgery. If you are unsure, have a professional  physician check the size of the hole. If the hole is bigger than a fourth  of the eardrum surface, a surgery is required to recover the membrane.
The surgeon usually places a graft on the eardrum and prepares the  environment for recovery.

 

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