The eardrum is a thin tissue, also called the tympanic membrane, which is found at the end of the ear canal. This tissue is oval in shape, and it separates the outer ear from the middle and the inner ear. It also acts as a layer that protects the delicate inner ear from external infections and dangers. It is also responsible for transferring the sounds that we hear in the outside world to the brain by transforming them into nerve impulses. As the eardrum is so crucial for our ability to hear, a rupture caused to the eardrum can cause damage to our hearing ability. Therefore, it is important to recognize the symptoms of a ruptured eardrum, which will help us receive immediate treatment.
The two main reasons that can lead to eardrum rupture are infection and trauma. Among the two, infection is said to be the most common cause for ruptured or perforated eardrum. The viruses or bacteria that enter the ear can cause pressure on the eardrum causing it to rupture. Due to this, the infection spreads into the middle and inner ear, leading to the development of ear infections.
Eardrum rupture can also be caused when a person inserts an ear bud, or may be, some other thing to clean the ear. Other than this, trauma caused due to falling on any side of the head can also be the reason for perforated eardrum. Sometimes, rupture in the eardrum can also be caused due to rapid changes in pressure, i.e., while traveling in an aircraft, practicing scuba diving, etc. Some other causes include lightning blasts, sound of firecrackers, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, loud noises, etc.
Most of the time, the ruptured eardrum gets cured on its own; however, it may cause serious problems in certain cases. Therefore, it is important to know about the symptoms in detail. They are:
- The first and common symptom that is observed is pain in the ears. The intensity of pain will differ from person to person according to how much rupture has been caused to the eardrum. While some may only experience a general discomfort, others may feel intense pain in the ear.
- Another symptom is drainage from the ear. When the ear gets ruptured, there are chances of fluid discharge appearing from the ears. This discharge can be clear or contain blood and pus.
- Some people may experience a humming sound in the ears. If some damage has been caused to your eardrum, you may hear buzzing, ringing, and clicking sounds in your ear.
- One of the symptoms is vertigo, due to which, a person experiences dizziness and lightheadedness. This can be accompanied with nausea and vomiting. Moreover, in some cases, people also have reported to have an upset stomach along with vertigo. However, the feeling of dizziness does not remain for a long time.
- One of the major symptoms is hearing loss. When the eardrum gets perforated, it loses its ability to send sound waves to the brain. As a result, we are not able to hear anything. If the rupture is a minor one, the hearing loss will be a temporary condition, which can be treated. However, if it is a severe one, the chances of bringing back the person's hearing ability is very less.
If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should consult an ear specialist immediately. Usually, a mild ruptured eardrum does not need specialized treatment and gets cured on its own. However, the doctor may prescribe certain antibiotics and other medications to lessen the pain and to treat the infection. With this treatment, eardrum rupture will get cured within two months. Nevertheless, if the eardrum rupture is quite severe, the doctor may have to conduct an eardrum patch or surgery. During the healing period, special care should be taken to keep the ear away from moisture as this can cause further complications.
Remember that our ears and eardrums are very sensitive and taking proper precautionary measures can help protect them from any rupture as well as other dangerous problems.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.