Perforated eardrum

Damaged eardrum causing infections and sudden hearing loss

A perforated eardrum is a tear or hole in your eardrum which can cause ear infections and sudden hearing loss. The wafer-thin tympanic membrane (the eardrum) separates the middle ear from the outer ear. Its function is to vibrate when struck by sound waves, which become nerve impulses sent to the brain.  

When the eardrum is damaged, hearing may be affected. The eardrum acts as a barrier that prevents external materials / elements, such as bacteria and germs, from entering the middle ear. When the eardrum is pierced or inflamed, the bacteria spreads easily into the middle ear and can cause an infection.


Symptoms of a burst eardrum

You may have a perforated eardrum if you are experiencing:

  • Pain in your ear or an earache
  • Residue dripping from your ear
  • An itchy ear
  • A fever
  • Tinnitus

What causes a perforated eardrum?

Often perforated eardrums can be caused by:

  • Flying or diving, the change in the air pressure.
  • Loud noises like fireworks or explosions.
  • An injury which impacts the inner ear.
  • Ear infections.

Perforated eardrum treatments

The ruptured eardrum tends to heal on its own in about two months. The doctor may suggest antibiotics to prevent or treat the infection and pain relievers to relieve the pain. You can also apply heat to relieve discomfort or, sometimes, put a patch on the eardrum to speed healing.

During this period, the healthy ear should be kept clean and dry. Thus, when taking a shower, it is recommended to cover the ear with a little cotton to prevent the entry of water. Remember, you should always see your doctor about a pierced eardrum.

Tympanoplasty: eardrum surgery

Tympanoplasty is, like myringoplasty, a surgical procedure aimed at repairing a perforated eardrum. These eardrum operations are performed under general anesthesia. They involve performing a graft on the eardrum using tissue taken from the same patient.

The patient leaves the operating room with an external bandage. During the healing period, the patient should protect his ear from water, not blow his nose strongly, be careful not to exert too much effort, and not to fly.

Tympanoplasty rarely presents complications. However, in some cases infection can occur followed by dizziness or tinnitus. If surgical procedures are not performed correctly, hearing loss, facial paralysis, or taste changes can occur.

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