The eardrum is a thin membrane found inside the ear, which detects sound vibrations and helps transmit them to the brain. It also plays an important role in protecting the inner ear from bacteria and other foreign objects. A perforated eardrum (or perforated ear drum) occurs when this membrane is torn or damaged, leading to reduced hearing and possible ear infection. Symptoms of a burst eardrum must not be ignored and medical attention must be sought to protect your hearing and ear health.
Perforation of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) creates an opening on the thin membrane separating the ear canal from your middle ear. It may occur due to physical trauma, an ear infection, and negative pressure caused by diving underwater or flying in an airplane. It can cause temporary loss of hearing, pain, and sometimes ear discharge.
Perforation of your eardrum may be due to various causes:
The middle ear has complicated structure and acute sensation to injury or disease. Therefore, you need to visit your doctor if you have any of the above signs, or experience any discomfort or pain within your ear. Take proper therapy or medical treatment to maintain your hearing.
It usually heals by itself within 6 to 8 weeks. However, a doctor may decide to prescribe antibiotics if there is risk of infection in the middle ear while your eardrum is healing. Home remedies may include:
Moisture inside the ear may encourage bacterial infection, which could delay healing. Take medications as prescribed and avoid getting liquids into your ear. Wear a shower cap or use Vaseline on cotton balls inside your ears while bathing to ensure dryness of your ear. Avoid swimming and submerging in water while your eardrum heals.
Do not use cotton swabs or insert anything into the ear while it is healing. Your ear may itch during healing, but it is important to let it heal completely.
Applying a hot compress or heating pad on the ear. This can help to ease pain and soothe swelling.
Protect your ears from too much pressure by not blowing your nose, which can make the perforation worse. Avoid flying when you have a cold, and use earplugs when flying to prevent recurrence of perforated eardrum. Wear ear muffs or a hat to protect your ears from cold. Always treat ear infections immediately to avoid getting any issues.
In most cases, it heals without treatment. However, your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to treat it. This is usually taken by mouth since ear drops can cause more damage in the ear. You may also be advised to take over-the-counter pain relievers. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which help reduce your pain and inflammation.
If a tear in the eardrum does not heal by itself, surgical treatment may be needed to close the large perforation. Techniques may include:
If you want to know more vivid information about perforated eardrum, watch the video below: