A ruptured eardrum is caused by a hole or a tear in the tympanic membrane. The tympanic membrane is a thin membrane that separates the ear canal from the middle ear. When sound waves strike this membrane, it vibrates and causes the process of transforming these sound waves into nerve impulses, which then travel to your brain. Thus, a perforated eardrum may cause loss in hearing. This membrane is also useful for preventing outside bacteria and water from entering the middle ear. With this condition, these substances find their way into the middle ear, which might lead to middle ear infections.
- One of the chief causes is the use of foreign objects, such as pins or cotton swabs, which may be used to clean the ear. If these objects are pushed too far into the ear canal, you may face this condition.
- If you are suffering from a middle ear infection, and too much fluid gets built-up inside the middle ear, it may cause pressure on the eardrum, and in some cases, may even rupture it.
- If the ear is struck with some object, it may lead to this condition as well.
- Pressure from airplanes on the ear, especially during the ascent or the descent, may cause this condition, as well as sudden, loud noises.
- Sharp and sudden pain or discomfort in the ear
- Loss in hearing
- Ringing in the ear (called 'Tinnitus')
- Pus and blood from the ear
- Increase in ear pain
This condition often heals itself within a few weeks or months. However, it is best advised to seek the help of a medical practitioner for your treatment. Sometimes, the doctor may seal the hole or tear with the use of chemicals, which stimulate the growth of cells and may also seal the hole or tear with a patch. If your case is worse, then a doctor may also conduct surgery and seal the hole or tear.
Care During Treatment
- It is of the utmost importance that during your treatment you do not get any water into the ear canal.
- You can use a cotton swab with Vaseline and take a bath to ensure this.
- You can also place a warm towel or heating pad over the ear to reduce the discomfort and pain.
- Do not clean your ears until your doctor says so. This is also very important, as it can cause damage during the healing process.
- Avoid blowing your nose, as the pressure thus created can affect the eardrum.
- Ask your doctor about which medicines you can take to relieve the pain.
- First of all, avoid putting any foreign objects into your ear - especially avoid pins or pointed objects, as they will surely cause harm.
- If you are suffering from a middle ear infection, get treatment for it immediately.
- You can protect your ears during a flight by using pressure equalizing ear plugs or by chewing gum during the ascent or the descent of the flight. Also, if you have a cold or congestion, avoid flying.
- Protect your ears from loud noises. You can wear ear plugs or ear muffs to do so. Reduce the volume of the walkman, iPod, or the television. Long term use of headphones must be avoided at all costs.
Proper care is necessary for any kind of health disorder. If you experience any of the symptoms above, get your condition treated as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.