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Ruptured Eardrum

What is a Ruptured Eardrum?

A ruptured eardrum is an opening in the eardrum. When the eardrum is damaged, the hearing process is interrupted.

What is the Eardrum?

The eardrum is a membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear. It vibrates when sound waves strike it, and this starts the process that converts the sound wave into a nerve impulse that travels to the brain. When the eardrum is damaged, the hearing process is interrupted.

The eardrum also acts as a barrier to keep outside material from entering the middle ear.

What Causes a Ruptured Eardrum?

A ruptured eardrum can be caused by direct injury, loud sudden noise, pressure, severe middle ear infection, and the insertion of foreign objects in the ear.

Symptoms of a Ruptured Eardrum

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Severe earache
  • A sudden decrease in ear pain may occur followed by ear drainage
  • Bloody drainage from your ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in your ear

How is a Ruptured Eardrum Diagnosed?

If your doctor believes you have a ruptured eardrum, he will perform a few tests.

How is a Ruptured Eardrum Treated?

A ruptured or perforated eardrum usually heals by itself within 2 months. However, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection or to treat an existing infection. An eardrum patch may be applied to the eardrum to stimulate healing. Medication may also be prescribed to reduce the pain.

Complications of a Ruptured Eardrum

Permanent hearing loss and recurrent ear infection are complications of a ruptured eardrum.

Can a Ruptured Eardrum be Prevented?

Yes. The easiest ways to prevent a ruptured eardrum is to not insert objects into the ear canal and to promptly treat ear infections.

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