A ruptured eardrum is actually a tear in the eardrum, (the thin tissue separating the ear canal from the middle ear). A rupture of the eardrum can result in hearing impairment. It also makes the middle ear more susceptible to infections and trauma.
A rupture, by and large heals in a couple of weeks without any treatment.
Symptoms Of Partially Ruptured Eardrum
Symptoms of a partially ruptured eardrum include:
- Pain in the ear which may subside.
- Clear, pus-filled or bloody discharge from the ear.
- Reduced or loss of hearing.
- Ringing in the ear.
- Nausea or vomiting occasionally.
Tear in the eardrum occurs due to:
- Middle ear infection.
- Trauma to the head.
- Foreign objects in the ear.
- Very loud sounds.
It is vital to consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. The middle and inner ear are made up of delicate mechanisms which are sensitive to injury or disease. Prompt treatment is crucial to preserving hearing.
Treatment Options For Ruptured Eardrum
Perforated eardrums are known to heal without any treatment in a couple of weeks.
- Eardrum patch: The ENT specialist will seal the tear with a patch. The doctor applies a chemical to the edges of the tear to encourage growth and then apply a patch over the tear. Repeated sessions are necessary before the hole closes completely.
- Surgical intervention: If a patch doesn’t help bridge the gap, your health care provider will recommend surgery. The commonest procedure is tympanoplasty. The surgeon will graft a small patch of your own tissue to close the tear. You can usually go home on the same day unless anesthesia conditions need a longer stay at the hospital.
- Antibiotics: Need to be prescribed in case of infection of the ear or to ward off infections.
- Keep the ear dry. Place a waterproof silicone earplug coated with petroleum jelly in the ear whilst you bathe.
- Do not clean your ears. Give the eardrum time to heal completely.
- Do not blow your nose. The pressure that is created when you blow your nose can damage the healing eardrum. Thus, ensure that you do not catch or suffer from a cold. Treat colds promptly.
Can You Fly With A Ruptured Eardrum?
- Barotrauma is the stress that is exerted on the eardrum when the air pressure in the middle ear and the environment are not balanced. If the difference of pressure is severe, your eardrum can rupture totally. Barotrauma most often occurs due to air pressure fluctuations related to air travel.
- Furthermore, scuba diving and a direct blow to the ear, such as the impact of an automobile air bag also trigger changes in the pressure and cause immense damage to your eardrum.
- If it is possible, do not fly at all till the rupture has healed completely; more so, if you have a cold or an active allergy which triggers congestion of the nose or ear.
- In case it is imperative to fly, in that case during the takeoff and descent, keep the ears clear by yawning, using pressure-equalizing earplugs, or chewing gum.
- The Valsalva maneuver is recommended – gently blowing, like you would blow your nose, whilst you pinch the nostrils and keep the mouth shut.
- Also, ensure that you don’t sleep during takeoff and landing.