A ruptured eardrum is a condition that affects the eardrum and is caused by a puncture in the eardrum. While most cases aren’t too serious and usually heal within a few weeks, some people also develop severe symptoms such as dizziness and hearing loss, some of which may require surgery or other invasive treatments. In some instances, complications such as ear infections may arise. You can take measures to lower your chances of suffering from a ruptured eardrum. Find out the symptoms, treatments, and recovery tips of a ruptured eardrum


Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is the most common symptom of a ruptured eardrum and can occur at different intensities, but it often manifests itself as a slightly muffled hearing. In severe cases, the hearing may be significantly impaired. The eardrum is an integral part of the auditory system because it allows sound waves to be converted into vibrations, thus enabling you to hear sounds. If this activity becomes interrupted, you may experience hearing loss. If you notice this symptom, you should see your doctor to make sure your hearing hasn’t diminished. It’s important to treat a ruptured eardrum to ensure that an infection doesn’t occur.



Have you ever experienced that annoying buzzing sound in your head as you go to sleep? If so, you’ve probably experienced tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of sound between the ears and usually sounds like a high-pitched whining sound or a low banging noise. A ruptured eardrum can cause hearing loss as well as tinnitus. In most cases, the sensation goes away after a while. However, if complications persist, then more measures should be taken to restore hearing, including antibiotics and in some cases, surgery. If you’re lucky enough, a ruptured eardrum will heal on its own within a few weeks.



Vertigo is a possible indication of a ruptured eardrum. The ears are the center of balance and equilibrium, and a severe ear infection may disrupt your brain's ability to balance the body. While you likely won’t fall all over the place, you may notice a feeling of dizziness and a sensation of spinning around. An ear infection can trigger a ruptured eardrum by causing a buildup of pressure in the ear. Once the pressure exceeds normal limits, the eardrum may perforate, causing pain and pressure to disappear. Pus can also begin to drain. If you experience significant vertigo, your doctor may prescribe medication.



Ruptured eardrums can result in some pretty nasty symptoms, one of which is drainage. This symptom can occur in many ways; for example, drainage may be white (pus), clear, or even red (blood). Drainage can be seen after using a cotton swab to clean the ear; likewise, if a child accidentally inserts a foreign object into the ear, this can cause drainage. If you notice an unusual amount of drainage, you should contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible to avoid infection or further complications. Drainage can also occur during treatment.



If conventional treatment options do not provide adequate results, then surgery may be the only viable option for a robust recovery. Surgery is usually performed in larger perforations, especially when hearing loss is present. To know exactly how much hearing has been lost, an audiology test is performed. Ear surgery is highly specialized and implies specific risks. That’s why before choosing to undergo surgery, you must consult with your doctor the specific advantages that surgery may offer to you. Afterwards, it’s important to ensure plenty of rest to avoid infection and further hearing loss.



Even though a ruptured eardrum can cause unpleasant symptoms ranging from things like pain and discomfort all the way to hearing loss, in some cases, no treatment is needed. This is because some patients successfully recover from a ruptured eardrum naturally. However, to know if no treatment is needed, your doctor must first analyze the nature and severity of your symptoms. If you don’t experience severe symptoms, then getting plenty of rest may be an adequate alternative. Depending on factors such as age and physical activity, other treatments may be suggested.



Besides other more invasive treatments such as surgery or hearing aid, particular medication may be necessary to treat a ruptured eardrum. This is especially true for cases in which infection has lead to the ruptured eardrum. Antibiotics are a great option because they avoid further infections from developing. Antibiotics can be taken in oral form or as ear drops, but for optimal treatment both options should be employed simultaneously. Contact your doctor to see which option best suits you. For the treatment of other symptoms such as pain or dizziness, other medication may be administered.


Avoid Physical Activity

The key to a successful recovery from a ruptured eardrum is getting plenty of rest. In normal circumstances, symptoms will improve within a few weeks, and long-term symptoms usually disappear within this timeframe. If the eardrum has become perforated, two months is often the normal healing time. Sometimes, symptoms can persist even after a few weeks. Some of the more severe symptoms that you should look out for include fever, dizziness or severe pain in the ear. Such indications can be a sign of infection, so it’s also a good idea to contact your doctor if you don’t notice improvements.


Avoid High Altitudes

Some people make the mistake of flying excessively during or after suffering from a ruptured eardrum. You should keep flights to a minimum because the difference in pressure can cause damage to the eardrums, especially if they are infected or highly sensitive. Moreover, patients that have ear congestion or allergies should avoid sudden changes in altitude. If you do choose to fly, make sure to equalize pressure in the ear carefully. This can be done by performing the Valsalva maneuver - however, be sure not to blow too hard as this may worsen your condition.


Don’t Clean Your Ears

An important step to ensure that your eardrums heal correctly is to avoid cleaning the ears with foreign objects. This helps the eardrum to prevent excess pressure or irritation. For example, cotton swabs can puncture the eardrum or even cause infection. In some cases, hearing loss may occur. Moreover, if you have children, you should avoid leaving small objects around that house that may be inserted into the ear, such as crayon pencils or paper clips. If you need to clean your ears, it is recommended to use a water wash or cleaning fluid droplets. Consult your pharmacist to see which is the best option for you.



This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.