How to Treat a Perforated Ear Drum
A Perforated Ear Drum (tympanic membrane perforation) is a hole or tear in the thin tissue that separates your ear canal from your middle ear (eardrum). A ruptured eardrum can result in hearing loss. It can also make your middle ear vulnerable to infections. A Perforated Ear Drum usually heals within a few weeks without treatment. But sometimes it requires a patch or surgical repair to heal.
Signs of a perforated eardrum, or an ear infection caused by a perforated eardrum, include:
- Sudden hearing loss – you may find it difficult to hear anything or your hearing may just be slightly muffled
- Earache or pain in your ear
- Itching in your ear
- Fluid leaking from your ear
- A high temperature
- Infections of the middle ear, which can damage the eardrum. In this situation you often have a discharge from the ear as pus runs out from the middle ear.
- Direct injury to the ear – for example, a punch to the ear.
- A sudden loud noise – for example, from a nearby explosion. The shock waves and sudden sound waves can tear (perforate) the eardrum. This is often the most severe type of perforation and can lead to severe hearing loss and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
- Poking objects into the ear. This can sometimes damage the eardrum.
A doctor can usually diagnose a torn (perforated) eardrum simply by looking into the ear with a special torch called an otoscope. However, sometimes it is difficult to see the eardrum if there is a lot of inflammation, wax or infection present in the ear.
Perforated eardrums do not always need to be treated because they often get better by themselves within a few weeks. Treatments for eardrum rupture are mainly designed to relieve pain and eliminate or prevent infection.
At home, you can ease the pain of a ruptured eardrum with heat and pain relievers. Placing a warm, dry compress on your ear several times daily can help.