ABC Medical Center > Ruptured eardrum

What is Ruptured eardrum?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


It refers to a perforation or tear in the eardrum, which is the tissue that separates the middle ear from the outer ear, which can damage hearing and make your ear develop infections more easily.

To understand the importance of the tympanic membrane, it is essential to know that the eardrum, when vibrating, converts sound waves into nervous impulses to be able to listen. In addition, it acts as a protective barrier against bacteria and other foreign substances. So, if it breaks, it can cause:

  • Total or partial hearing loss.
  • Otitis.
  • Cholesteatoma or cyst of the middle ear.

Possible causes of a ruptured eardrum include:

  • Rapid changes in the ear pressure.
  • Infections in the middle ear, where pus or fluid can accumulate behind the eardrum.
  • Injuries or trauma.
  • Foreign object in the ear.
  • Very loud and shocking noise near the eardrum, like an explosion.
  • Use of cotton swabs or other utensils for ear cleaning.

Signs and symptoms Ruptured eardrum

  • Ear pain that may suddenly subside, shortly after the eardrum ruptures.
  • Discomfort in the ear.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomit.
  • Total or partial hearing loss.
  • Noise or ringing in the ear.
  • Discharge with pus or blood.
  • Vertigo, in severe cases.
  • Facial weakness.

Diagnosis and treatment Ruptured eardrum

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination of the eardrum and request the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Lab tests.
  • Audiometry.
  • Audiology exam.
  • Tympanometry.

Typically, a ruptured eardrum heals on its own in a few weeks, depending on the severity of the rupture, but you will likely require:

  • Painkillers.
  • Oral antibiotics or ear drops to prevent or treat an infection.
  • Hot compresses to relieve discomfort.

In severe cases, it may be necessary to patch the eardrum (myringoplasty) or repair it surgically (tympanoplasty) to close the opening. Both options are outpatient procedures, meaning you can go home on the same day.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Pérez LBMI, García LLF. Timpanocele secundario a barotrauma. Otorrinolaringología. 2009;54(3):119-120.

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