What is perforated eardrum? It means you have some sort of hole in an ear’s tympanic membrane. This membrane is commonly referred to as eardrum because it’s shaped and vibrates similarly to a drum. Having a ruptured eardrum reduces your ability to hear sound because of the affect on this helpful vibration.
Your eardrum not only helps with hearing, but acts as a protective barrier for your middle ear. Therefore, a hole may offer an opportunity for bacteria to enter and cause an infection, what’s referred to as otitis media. Also, a cholesteatoma may result because debris can now makes its way in as well.
What causes an eardrum to perforate can vary, for instance:
- direct blow to ear
- extremely loud sound
- pushing object too far into ear
- fluid pressure from an ear infection
- extreme gradient difference between inner ear & outside air pressure
The typical ruptured eardrum symptom most experience is some degree of hearing loss. Ear pain, tinnitus, vertigo and ear fluid drainage are some other symptoms you may notice because of a hole in the eardrum. And symptoms can differ depending on the cause of your perforation.
A small eardrum hole usually heals by itself without the need for treatment. However, you should take appropriate steps to prevent anything from entering your ear during the healing process, which generally takes a week or two. Wearing a waterproof silicone earplug or petroleum jelly coated cotton ball can help during showers. And try to avoid blowing your nose because of the excessive pressure it can create.
If your perforation fails to heal by itself, then there are treatments that can assist in closing the hole. An otolaryngologist is the type of doctor that specializes in ruptured eardrum treatment.