The tympanic membrane is a tissue located between the outer ear canal and the middle ear. An eardrum rupture, also known as a perforated eardrum, refers to a tear or small hole on the membrane. Below are more details on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of eardrum ruptures.
Causes of Eardrum Rupture
An ear infection is the most common cause of eardrum perforation. Infections lead to the buildup of fluids behind the ear, which exert pressure on the membrane, causing it to rupture. Drastic changes in ear pressure (barotrauma) brought about by activities like diving at high altitudes, flying in a plane, and scuba diving can also lead to eardrum tears. Loud noise impacts intense sound pressure on the eardrum, making it vibrate to the point of rupture. Inserting objects too far into your ear may also harm the tympanic membrane.
Symptoms of Eardrum Rupture
The symptoms of an eardrum rupture depend on the magnitude of the tear. A ruptured tympanic membrane causes severe or mild pain in the ear. You can either experience constant increasing pain or intermittent impulses of a mild ache. The ear then drains pus or blood-filled liquids after the pain goes away. A ruptured eardrum can lead to dizziness, temporary hearing loss, and ringing or buzzing in the ear (tinnitus).
Diagnosis and Treatment
It is advisable to visit a specialist for diagnosis and treatment if you experience the symptoms of a ruptured eardrum. Physicians utilize various techniques to determine whether or not an individual suffers a perforated eardrum. Testing any fluids draining from the ear will help a doctor determine if the patient suffers an ear infection. Your physician may recommend tests such as an otoscopy to examine your ear canal and test the eardrum.
If a patient suffers from a perforated eardrum that can heal on its own, the hearing specialist will patch the membrane using a medicated paper and prescribe medication used to treat ear infections. Antibiotics for ear infections are available in the form of oral tablets and ear drops. In severe eardrum rupture cases, you may require a tympanoplasty, which is the surgical repair of a perforated tympanic membrane.
Early diagnosis and treatment of a ruptured eardrum will prevent infections and permanent hearing loss. At High Level Speech & Hearing Center, our team provides the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment for hearing and speech disorders. Also, our award-winning clinic offers mobile health services throughout New Orleans. Call our office or use our online scheduler to book a hearing assessment. Due to COVID-19, we are currently utilizing teletherapy services for all patients.