Perforated Eardrum (Ruptured Eardrum)

Perforated Eardrum

An eardrum which is ruptured or perforated does not indicate a dangerous condition, and in most cases, the eardrum will heal on its own. However, your child may experience complications such as a loss of hearing or infection within their ear. When a ruptured eardrum does not heal on its own, a simple procedure can be done for perforated eardrum treatment.

What is a perforated eardrum?

The ear drum, which is also referred to as the tympanic membrane, is a thin structure that can be found between the middle ear and the external ear. The ear itself is split into three areas, and these are the external ear, internal ear and the middle ear. When sound waves reach the external ear, they will strike the eardrum which will make it vibrate.

A perforated eardrum occurs when the eardrum becomes torn. This will affect hearing, but the extent to which it is affected will depend on the damage. For instance, small tears in the eardrum will only lead to a minimal amount of hearing loss, while larger tears can cause severe hearing loss. Additionally, when the eardrum becomes torn, there is an increased risk of getting an infection, since the eardrum protects the middle ear from bacteria or germs.

What are the symptoms of a perforated eardrum?

There are a number of things which can cause a perforated eardrum. Some of these include infections, as well as sudden loud noises and blunt force resulting from punches or kicks to the ear. Barotrauma is a condition in which a sudden change in air pressure outside the ear which is significantly different from the middle ear can cause the eardrum to tear. Other symptoms include:

  • Pus or blood leakage from the ear
  • Ringing sound or ear pain
  • Vision spins (vertigo)
  • Vomiting and nausea

How is the diagnosis established?

Dr. Samadi will diagnose a perforated eardrum by examining the ear of your child. He will use a special instrument which is referred to as an otoscope. In some cases, it may be challenging for the doctor to examine the eardrum fully if there is a great deal of wax or inflammation within the ear.

How is a perforated eardrum treated?

In most cases, no treatment will be necessary, as the child’s ear will heal on its own. This will typically occur in six to eight weeks. If an infection is present, a doctor may provide antibiotics which will assist the eardrum in healing. While the eardrum heals, it should not be exposed to water. Parents can place cotton wool into the outer ear of their child while they’re bathing and washing their hair, and the child should also avoid swimming until their eardrum has completely healed.

It is also best to avoid using ear drops while the ear heals, as they can cause problems with the ear’s nerve supply. In rare cases, the ear drum may not heal on its own, and when this happens, surgery is warranted. Tympanoplasty is a surgical procedure which is used to fix the eardrum, and we at ENT for Children have a high success rate in such procedures.

Contact us today if you suspect that your child has a perforated eardrum and need specialist guidance on this medical issue.