Perforated ear drum also known as ruptured ear drum is a condition in which a tear or a hole appears in the thin tissue separating ear canal from the middle ear.
Ruptured ear drum makes ear susceptible to infections and can also cause hearing loss. The tear in the ear drum heals on its own without any treatment, but in few cases, it requires a surgical procedure.
Signs And Symptoms:
The signs and symptoms of a perforated ear drum include:
Ear pain, which usually goes away on its own
Pus, blood or clear liquid draining out of ears
Loss of hearing
Vertigo, nausea and vomiting
Causes And Complications:
Otitis media or middle ear infection is one of the main causes behind a perforated ear drum. This infection leads to accumulation of fluids mounting pressure on the ear drums to rupture.
Barotrauma happens when there is a difference between air pressure in the middle ear and air pressure in the surrounding environment outside. If the pressure gets exerted more on the inner ear, it causes rupture. Barotrauma usually happens during air travel, scuba diving or blowing sound directly in to the ear.
Also known as acoustic trauma, loud blasts can instantly rupture the inner ear tissue as a strong sound wave can interfere with the thin tissue.
An accident with a severe head injury can damage or dislocate the middle and inner ear structures, including ear drums.
Keeping foreign objects like pins, ear buds can also puncture the tissue around the ear drum.
Diagnosis And Treatment:
An ENT specialist will use several methods like laboratory tests to detect presence of bacteria, tuning fork evaluation. If there is a hearing loss, your doctor may advice to go for tympanometry to measure changes in air pressure, an audiology exam for a detailed understanding of hearing abilities at different pitches.
Treatment options may include eardrum patch in which the rupture gets sealed by the surgeon or a tympanoplasty in which the expert grafts a tiny patch of a tissue to close the rupture.
People suffering from perforated ear drum should always keep ears dry, avoid blowing nose.