The tympanic membrane, commonly called the eardrum, is a very thin membrane that separates the middle ear from the ear canal. It aids in hearing and prevents bacteria and other foreign objects from entering the middle ear.
Perforated Tympanic Membrane
A perforated tympanic membrane, or ruptured ear drum, is a hole in the eardrum. It often heals on its own in about a month, and does not require treatment.
Many people experience no symptoms and are unaware that they have ruptured their eardrum. However, common symptoms include:
- Severe earache that increases in severity
- Severe earache that subsides and is followed by discharge
- Ear drainage –may have blood or pus
- Hearing loss or difficulty hearing out of the affected ear
- Buzzing or other noises in the ear
A ruptured eardrum should not go unchecked. Because the opening of the membrane allow bacteria to enter the eardrum, it puts you at increased risk for infection.
Causes and Risk Factors
There are several causes and factors that put you at risk for a ruptured eardrum.
Common causes include:
- Puncture from the use of a Q-tip or other device inserted into the ear canal
- Damage to the ear
- Pressure building inside the middle ear
- Ear infections
You have a higher risk if you:
- Scuba dive
- Have an ear infection
- Receive an injury to the ear
- Insert objects into your ear
Eardrum Surgery and Repair
When medications and at-home treatments fail to heal the eardrum, surgery may be required to repair the perforation. This procedure, called Tympanoplasty, uses your own tissue to reconstruct the tympanic membrane. It can be performed one of two ways: through the ear canal alone or through the ear canal and through an incision behind the ear. The procedure is simple, and most patients leave the hospital the same day.
If you think you may have a ruptured eardrum, don’t wait to schedule an examination. Call the Northwest ENT Surgery Center at (678) 483-8833 to find out how we can restore your eardrum and your hearing today.
We are conveniently located at 960 Woodstock Parkway Suite 101 in Woodstock, GA.