A ruptured eardrum involves a hole or tear in the eardrum. If there is a hole or tear in the eardrum, the middle and inner parts of the ear could not be protected. The individual might even lose hearing.
What is the cause?
The usual cause of eardrum rupture is a middle ear infection. Once the cause is an infection, it results to the accumulation of pus in the middle ear which increases the pressure. This buildup can lead to the rupturing of the eardrum.
Ear injuries and abrupt changes in the pressure are also usual causes of a ruptured eardrum.
What are the signs?
A ruptured eardrum might be present for some time and does not trigger any symptoms other than minimal hearing loss. If the rupture is due to a middle ear infection, the signs might include:
- Abrupt, sharp ear pain
- Sudden reduction in the pain as the buildup of fluid drains out via the tear and no longer causes pressure on the eardrum
- Hearing loss
- Thick and yellowish or tan drainage from the ear
If the rupture is due to an injury, the symptoms might include:
- Hearing loss
- Generalized discomfort from the injury
A small-sized hole in the eardrum often recuperates on its own, usually in just a couple of weeks. During this period, the ear must be protected from water. The ear will also feel better if it is also protected from cold air.
Antibiotic eardrops are also prescribed by the doctor to prevent infection as the eardrum heals. In some cases, oral antibiotics are also needed.
A follow-up appointment is set after a few weeks. In case the hole is large, or the eardrum is not healing, surgery is necessary. The doctor will utilize tissue from another body part to seal the hole. Depending on the size and site of the hole, the repair is carried out within the ear or via an incision behind the ear.