What is a ruptured eardrum?
A ruptured eardrum, or also known as a perforated eardrum or a tympanic membrane perforation, can occur very suddenly. A ruptured eardrum is a tear in the thin membrane that separates the outer ear from your inner ear. When the eardrum is ruptured, bacteria can get into the middle ear and cause an infection. Consequently, a ruptured eardrum can lead to complications such as middle ear infections and hearing loss.
What causes ruptured eardrum?
A number of things can cause the eardrum to rupture, including:
- Ear infection: when the middle ear is infected, the built up pressure pushes against the eardrum causing the eardrum to perforate.
- Foreign objects: poking of foreign objects such as a cotton-tipped swab can sometimes lead to the puncture of the eardrum.
- Barotrauma: this occurs when the pressure inside the ear and the pressure outside the ear are not equal (such as when an airplane changes altitude).
- Head injury or ear slap: this sudden trauma can cause the eardrum to rupture
- Acoustic trauma: an acoustic trauma caused by a sudden loud noise (an explosion or sudden blast of music).
What are the symptoms of ruptured eardrum?
Some people do not notice any symptoms of a ruptured eardrum, while some people may notice discomfort in their ear quite early on. Some people may also experience hearing air come out of their ear when they blow their nose.
Other symptoms of a ruptured eardrum can also include:
- Sudden sharp ear pain
- Drainage from the ear
- Ear noise or buzzing
- Hearing loss (can be partial or complete)
- Episodic ear infections
- Facial weakness or dizziness
When to see a doctor for a ruptured eardrum?
Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of a ruptured eardrum. Prompt and appropriate treatment is important in order to preserve your hearing.
Healthpointe now offers audiology services at our Anaheim location. Audiology services at Healthpointe include hearing tests and evaluations, diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, balance or speech problems, and other hearing disorders. Contact Healthpointe today to learn more about our audiology services.
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