A ruptured eardrum interrupts the normal hearing of a person. As it is a very sensitive membrane, it can easily tear in case a foreign object gets inside your ear, an infection, or in case of a loud deafening sound. The eardrum vibrates as sound enters it and a very loud sound can cause it to vibrate radically and tear.
Aside from interruption in hearing, a tear in the eardrum is very painful. Depending on the severity of the rupture, you can apply first aid or end up under a knife for a surgery.
If you or someone you know experience a ruptured eardrum, it is best to know how to handle and remedy the situation. The steps below should guide you on how you should treat a ruptured eardrum.
- Know the symptoms. You will know that the eardrum is affected if you experience severe pain inside your ear, experience impaired hearing or hear buzzing sound, or if blood or fluids come out of your ear. If you experience any of these, you may have a ruptured eardrum.
- Consult a doctor as soon as possible. Even on the first sign of eardrum injury, go to a doctor straight away. You can go to the emergency section of the hospital if you do not have a scheduled appointment with a general practitioner. The doctor will look inside your ear using an auriscope. If it is indeed a ruptured eardrum, you will be referred to an ENT (Ears, Nose, and Throat) specialist to conduct more tests.
- Treat a minor rupture. In case the damage is minor, pain relievers may be prescribed as well as antibiotics to reduce the risk of an infection. You may need to cover your ears with clean gauze. As the eardrum separates your inner and outer ear, a rupture leaves the inner ear vulnerable to dirt and foreign objects, increasing the possibility of an infection. Depending on the severity, an eardrum may take 1 to 2 months to completely heal. Some ENT may place a patch to fasten the healing process. Ask your doctor if you can have such applied. If the rupture does not heal, or if there is no improvement after 2 weeks, go back to the ENT for a checkup.
- Treat a major rupture. A surgery may be needed if the rupture is too major for a patch. The doctor will have to stitch and repair the damage. After the surgery, you will need to visit the doctor regularly for cleaning the wound and checkup on your recovery.
If the damage on your eardrum is not addressed immediately, you are in risk of infection and permanent loss of hearing.
To prevent having a ruptured eardrum, do not put any foreign objects inside your ear. Clean only the exterior of your ears and do not force to clean too deep inside. Also wear an ear plug if you are expecting to hear loud noises. In case of an ear infection, have a doctor treat it immediately to avoid the infection spreading to your eardrum.