An individual who has a ruptured eardrum can experience certain symptoms. It is important to note that a ruptured eardrum involves a tear or opening in the eardrum. The eardrum or tympanic membrane separates the exterior ear from the middle ear. The eardrum vibrates once sound waves strike the eardrum. These vibrations are transmitted to the structures in the middle and inner ear in which the sound waves are transmitted into nerve impulses. Once the eardrum is damaged or ruptured, normal hearing of the individual is disrupted. There are various causes of a ruptured eardrum that you should be familiar with.
What are the causes of a ruptured eardrum?
If a middle ear infection develops, it causes the buildup of pressure in the middle ear, resulting to a tear in the eardrum. The abrupt changes in the pressure linked with travelling by air can also lead to a ruptured eardrum. Even injury to the ear with the use of objects such as pins or cotton swabs as well as head injuries can also tear the eardrum. Additionally, damage to the ear due to excessive exposure to loud noises whether in the workplace or recreational endeavors can cause a ruptured eardrum.
What are the symptoms?
A ruptured eardrum will eventually lead to severe pain in the ear. The individual will complain of hearing loss and there is also discharge of blood or pus from the affected ear. Additionally, there is also ringing or buzzing sounds.
An insight from a doctor
A small-sized rupture in the eardrum can close on its own. If a rupture does not seem to heal, the doctor will apply a chemical to the perimeters of the hole and place a paper patch on the drum. In cases where patching could not stimulate the healing of the eardrum that has large-sized holes, it would require surgery. The procedure which is called tympanoplasty closes the hole and restores the hearing. The surgical procedure involves the grafting of skin tissue on the perforation.
Preventing a ruptured eardrum is possible. An initial step is to avoid insertion of objects such as sticks, pins or hairpins into the ears. When cleaning to ears using cotton-tipped swabs, you have to be careful that the tips do not go far into the ears since these can puncture the eardrum. As for a middle ear infection, it must be given immediate emergency care.
Important consideration to bear in mind
A ruptured eardrum exposes the middle ear to bacteria and can result to middle ear infection. This can lead to the drainage of pus via the hole into the ear canal. If there is a hole in the eardrum, it can lead to mastoiditis which is infection involving the bone at the rear of the ear. Do not forget that a ruptured eardrum can oftentimes lead to permanent loss of hearing.