Perforated Eardrum - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

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  • Fast Facts on Perforated Eardrum
  • What Causes Perforated Eardrum
  • What are the Top Symptoms
  • Prevention
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment of Perforated Eardrum in Ayurveda
  • Treatment of Perforated Eardrum in Homeopathy
  • Treatment of Perforated Eardrum in Allopathy
  • Surgical Treatment of Perforated Eardrum
  • Diet After Tympanoplasty
  • Complications

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What is Perforated Eardrum?

How do our ears work? How they interpret sounds? The hearing mechanism depends on three sections: the outer ear, middle ear, & inner ear. All the sections have unique functions and even a small problem in the mechanism can render us ill or inflict a lot of pain.

A lot of exposure to loud noises or an injury may result in eardrum damage. Eardrum damage may hinder your capability to hear and if left untreated, a patient can go deaf. Although, perforation in the ear doesn’t cause a lot of complications but make eardrum susceptible to a variety of infections.

The surgical procedure to treat hearing impairment or eardrum is recommended if home care treatments and OTC medications don’t work. Most ear infections do not require medical intervention and resolve on their own within a few days.

Experts recommend a wait of 48 hours before prescribing antibiotics in case of an acute ear infection. A follow-up visit needs to be in check as sometimes even small cases turn severe and require immediate medical intervention.

Fast Facts on Perforated Eardrum

The eardrum problems are a result of  infection. If the ear catches the infection, either bacterial or viral, it needs to be treated. The outer ear made of solid cartilage, is called the pinna and the same is covered by skin.

Sound waves travel into funnels through the pinna into the external auditory canal, thus, making vibrations to the eardrum and tiny bone structures in the middle ear.

The fluid-filled canals which are semicircular in shape, connect to the cochlea and nerves in the inner ear. They send data on balance and head position to the brain. So, an eardrum perforation can also cause hearing loss.

What Causes Perforated Eardrum

A ruptured eardrum can lead to the formation of discharge from the ear that can be white, slightly bloody, or yellow. You can look for dry material on a kid’s pillow as a sign of a ruptured eardrum or blood spots.

A perforated tympanic membrane or eardrum can have many causes. People who have ear tubes are more prone to perforation. The reason is that the eardrum does not close after the tube comes out. While this is rare, it is not unheard of.

In a lot of cases, frequent ear infections can also cause temporary hearing loss. A patient may feel pressure from pus leading to yellow discharge which sometimes produces a small hole in the tympanic membrane. This is a part of the body’s natural way of draining the pus and getting it out of the ear. 

What are the Top Symptoms

A perforated eardrum does not always cause problems but it depends on the size and location of the perforation. The perforated eardrum may cause a conductive hearing loss, and in chronic cases, it may discharge a yellow material from the ear. A hearing test or an audiogram can easily assess the severity of a hearing loss. 

In most cases, perforations in the tympanic membrane cause ear infections. The reason behind the same is the space beneath the tympanic membrane, it should not get wet from external factors.

If water gets into the middle ear or the inner ear is moist, a middle ear infection called otitis media can occur. It doesn't mean that tympanic membrane perforations always cause ear infections, in the case of a tiny hole, it doesn't need to cause an infection. In such cases, water may not be able to flow.

Prevention

The best way to prevent an ear infection or perforated eardrum is by protecting your ears. You can wear earplugs when around loud noises. Also, you should not insert objects into the ear canal that could possibly puncture the eardrum. Sometimes, even earbuds that are intended to clean the ears cause damage to the delicate eardrums.

Besides, you must let your ENT doctor know right away if you feel pain or experience symptoms of a perforated eardrum.

Diagnosis

An ENT doctor or surgeon can diagnose the perforation of the ear in a physical examination using an otoscope, which is an instrument that has a magnifier with a light, designed to look inside the ear. Other tests may include:

Auditory Testing: An audiologist checks a patients' hearing in each ear, using sounds of varying volume and frequency.

Computed Tomography (CT scan): A CT scanner uses X-rays and a computer to create images of the ears and surrounding structures.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Using radio waves in a magnetic field, a scanner creates high-resolution images of the ears and surrounding structures.

Treatment of Perforated Eardrum in Ayurveda

Ayurveda can cure ear infection with its wide range of treatment options and powerful natural extracts. The most beneficial function of Ayurveda is that it heals the patient by strengthening the body from inside. To treat an ear infection with Ayurveda, a patient can take certain natural treatments that are listed below:

  • Bael (Aegle Marmelos): The root of the bael tree is used to treat a lot of ear problems. A root is dipped in neem oil and lighted. The extract dripping from the root is used to put into the ear. This helps provide relief in earaches and infections.

  • Bishop's Weed (Trachyspermum Ammi): Bishop's weed is one of the most effective treatments of ear problems. A patient can use a teaspoonful quantity and heat it in 30 milliliters of milk. The juice of the weed is allowed to permeate into the milk and used as ear drops to cure the ear problems.

  • Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum): The holy basil or tulsi is also beneficial for ear problems. The juice of tulsi extracted from its leaves can be used as ear drops.

Treatment of Perforated Eardrum in Homeopathy

Homeopathy has a lot of different types of treatment for perforated eardrums. Based on the severity of the perforation, treatment can be prescribed. A patient can use Hypericum and Calendula for pain and healing.

Pulsatilla is also one of the helpful homeopathic treatments in case a ruptured eardrum is accompanied by a discharge from the ear.

Treatment of Perforated Eardrum in Allopathy

As we mentioned above, most of the cases of a perforated eardrum or ear infections heal on their own within two months. Treatment may include analgesics to alleviate pain and antibiotic ear drops to prevent infection of the middle ear. The ENT doctor is likely to suggest the patient to keep  the ear clean and dry while healing.

Surgical Treatment of Perforated Eardrum

There are a lot of procedures available to treat the condition in-ears such as perforated or damaged eardrum, ear pain or discharge from the ear. When these procedures fail, then only surgery is prescribed.

Tympanoplasty is a reconstructive surgery of punctured eardrum. It may require making a small incision above the ear canal to approach the repair while the patient is anesthetic. Otoscopy is used to assess the mobility of the malleus and the tympanic membrane.

Diet After Tympanoplasty

A patient can have a normal diet. If the stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat food such as plain rice, boiled chicken, toast, and yogurt. Also, a patient has to drink a lot of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.

Complications

Though modern surgery involves fewer complications, the surgical procedure may involve some problems. Some complications include failure of the graft to heal, causing recurrent eardrum perforation. 

Frequently asked Questions

How can I cure my eardrum perforation?

Tympanoplasty is performed if the hole in your eardrum is large or if you have a chronic ear infection. A patient will most likely be in the hospital for this surgery for a day and will be operated under general anesthesia.

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Can I regain hearing after the eardrum is ruptured?

A small tear or hole in your eardrum usually heals within a few weeks. Your hearing will usually get back to normal after the eardrum has healed.

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