Think of a drum with a hole in the middle and it can be likened to a ruptured eardrum – it’s a serious condition that will likely need prompt and proper attention! But where a ruptured drum cannot make sound, a ruptured eardrum cannot receive sound.
Also known as tympanic membrane perforation, a ruptured eardrum is a tear or a hole in the eardrum. This is the thin tissue separating the ear canal from the middle ear. It’s as serious as it sounds – it can result in hearing loss and it can increase the risk of infections in the middle ear.
Well, we have to be honest. Some cases of ruptured eardrums will heal without medical treatment, usually within a few weeks. But there are some cases that will require medical intervention, usually in the form of surgery, for the ruptured eardrum to heal.
The Risks of an Untreated Ruptured Eardrum
The tympanic membrane, or the eardrum, has two major roles:
As such, a ruptured eardrum can cause complications like:
These complications can happen within three to six months after the rupture occurs.
The Signs to Look Out for
But don’t wait for three months before seeing your ENT doctor! If you experience these signs, you should immediately set an appointment to get a definitive diagnosis.
You should avoid putting pressure on your external ear, much less putting foreign objects into it, such as using cotton buds. You’re only worsening the injury otherwise. You can ask your ENT doctor about the best ways to deal with these symptoms while waiting for your appointment.
Antibiotics are usually the first line of defense for perforated eardrums. But surgery may be necessary, too, and it comes in the form of an eardrum patch or a tympanoplasty.
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