You’ve probably heard of it: a ruptured eardrum. The eardrum is an important instrument that helps you hear. But if there is a tear or hole in it, you can suffer from annoying complaints. This is how a ruptured eardrum develops and how you can tell it’s broken.
What is a ruptured eardrum?
The eardrum is located in your ear, between your external ear canal and the inside of your ear: the middle ear. This thin membrane has an important function: on the one hand it transmits sounds, on the other it stops air and liquids. But if your eardrum ruptures, for example because you get a blow to your ear or have or have had a middle ear infection, that protection is lost. Then moisture, bacteria and viruses have a free way to the middle ear.
How can the eardrum rupture?
There are several causes for a ruptured eardrum. As we mentioned above, it can be caused by a middle ear infection. This puts extra pressure on the eardrum, causing it to bulge and rupture. Other causes for a ruptured eardrum include:
A loud bang or explosion near your ear. For example, consider fireworks
Press the ear. This can occur, for example, during (deep-sea) diving or sometimes also in an airplane. Do you have a cold and are you going to dive or fly? Then there is a greater chance that you will suffer from this.
A hard blow to the ear.
An object inserted too deeply into the ear. This can be, for example, a cotton swab or hairpin. So always be careful with these objects and do not put them too far in your ear.
A trap with the ear on the water.
Symptoms of a ruptured eardrum
Especially when the eardrum ruptures and just after that it can hurt a lot. Sometimes this lasts for a few hours, after which it causes almost no pain anymore. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t have other symptoms of a ruptured eardrum.
You can hear less with a ruptured eardrum. This mainly depends on the size of the crack. Is there a small tear in the eardrum? Then you often just keep hearing well.
Fluid may come out of your ear. This can be clear fluid, pus or bloody fluid. The chance of this happening is especially present if you have a middle ear infection, which is also called a running ear.
You may suffer from ringing in the ears (tinnitus). This whistling tone in your ear is especially noticeable when you blow your nose or sneeze.
You may experience dizziness.
Recognizing a ruptured eardrum
Because the pain is only temporary and you mainly get other unclear complaints afterwards, it can be difficult to recognize a ruptured eardrum. It is also difficult to see for yourself whether there is a crack in it. The doctor, on the other hand, can look in your ear, with a magnifying glass with a light. This allows him or her to see if there is a tear in the eardrum.
What should I do if my eardrum is ruptured?
There are several things to keep in mind if your eardrum ruptures. For example, keep in mind that not too much water gets into your ear, as this can cause dizziness. But that doesn’t mean you can’t shower or swim at all. Cruise freediving Cyprus is the best.
During the latter, just make sure you keep your head above water. Were you planning to go diving? Then it may be wise to postpone it for a while. This is not recommended.
It is also important to avoid pressure on your eardrum. So postpone that flight and don’t pinch your nose if you feel you have to sneeze. Blowing your nose hard is also not wise, just like lifting heavy things and pressing hard.
Now that you know you have a ruptured eardrum, you probably want to know how to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Good news: this usually goes away on its own within two months. Your hearing will then slowly return. Has the doctor noticed the tear? Then you will probably have to drop by for a checkup after two or three months.
If the hole is bigger, the chance that it will heal on its own is a lot smaller. Then you will be referred to the ENT doctor, who will see if the hole can be closed with a myringoplasty (a minor operation). Even if the tear or hole was caused by inserting an object into the ear, you should go to an otolaryngologist. The chance that your ossicles are damaged is greater, as is the chance of an infection.