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Drumhead burst - What to do?!

Your eardrum consists of a very thin membrane. It forms a boundary between the inner ear and the outer part of your ear. The eardrum provides the necessary protection against germs. At the same time, it has the task of transmitting sound waves. Thus, the eardrum plays a key role in the entire hearing process. Now, however, it can happen that a hole develops in this sensitive membrane. In this case, the ear, nose and throat specialist speaks of a perforated eardrum.

The eardrum. Source: tinnitracks

This guide will provide you with all the necessary information on what to do if a hole has formed in your eardrum. Further down you can read about what the causes, symptoms and diagnoses are. We will also inform you about all treatment options here. If you have any further questions, you are very welcome to contact us without obligation.

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What is the cause of ruptured eardrum?

There are many possible causes if such a defect has formed in your eardrum. These can be either inflammatory or traumatic in nature. Traumatic means that the hole was caused by an injury.

One of the most common and typical causes from the traumatic area is self-injury. Most often this happens when you clean your ear with a cotton swab. Other typical traumatic causes can be:

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  • Sudden change in pressure
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  • Punch to the ear
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  • Injury to the skull
  • Hard water jet during improper ear canal irrigation
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All of the above examples can cause a tear to develop in your eardrum

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Typical causes for a ruptured eardrum

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Middle ear infection is a typical inflammatory cause that can cause your eardrum to develop a hole. Middle ear infections are distinguished between the chronic and the acute form. If it is the acute form, a rupture or hole can form in the eardrum at an advanced stage and when there is a lot of pus production. Once the pus can drain through the hole in the eardrum, the situation improves. You will have less pressure sensation and less pain. The inflammation heals faster because the middle ear can now be better ventilated. Usually, your eardrum will then heal on its own. However, if it is a chronic middle ear infection, it usually automatically comes to an eardrum perforation.

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What are the symptoms of eardrum perforation?

Eardrum perforation (hole in the eardrum). Source: medpertise

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When preceded by a traumatic event, sudden pain and acute hearing loss are the typical symptoms of a hole in the eardrum. Sometimes there is also a slight bleeding.

The situation is somewhat different with an acute inflammatory perforation of the eardrum. The pain subsides as the secretion drains away. It may happen that the inner ear is also inflamed. As a result, nausea and dizziness may set in. It is not uncommon for tinnitus to occur at the same time. Sometimes twitching eye movements are added. Now and then, even individual facial muscles may be paralyzed.

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Diagnosis of a hole in the eardrum

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The ear, nose and throat doctor performs an otoscopy with the help of an otoscope or an ear microscope to make a clear diagnosis. In most cases, the doctor also examines the area around the perforated eardrum. In addition, you should definitely take a hearing test. So the doctor can find out whether the inner ear is also affected.

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Drumhead healing accelerate

Small defects in your eardrum may heal on their own. But if it is a larger defect or a complete rupture of the eardrum, the ear, nose, and throat doctor must help. He or she will straighten the injury or apply a splint. For this purpose, the doctor uses paper or silicone strips and places them on the eardrum. This speeds up the healing process. If this method does not work because the injury is too large, then the eardrum must be surgically closed. Sometimes even the ossicles are affected or destroyed. In this case, a complete reconstruction must be done.

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Water behind the eardrum

Sometimes chronic bone suppuration occurs. This defect needs to be surgically repaired. If your ear has been in contact with water, then you should take an antibiotic as a preventive measure. Protect the damaged ear canal quite especially when bathing and showering, by closing it with a special cream cotton.

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drumhead hole healing duration - self-healing

As a rule, a defect in the eardrum heals relatively well, you can expect about four weeks. However, if the inner ear or the ossicles are also affected, permanent hearing loss may result, even deafness is possible. In this case, you should immediately consult your ear, nose and throat doctor.

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