A ruptured eardrum sounds pretty serious, and yet, some people don’t even know they have perforated their eardrum because they felt nothing and had no symptoms. Let’s learn what can cause it to occur and some symptoms to be aware of.
What Is an Eardrum?
The part of your body known as the eardrum is a flexible layer of cartilage that separates your outer ear from your middle ear.
Its job is to protect the middle ear from any foreign objects like water, bacteria, Q tips, bobby pins or anything small that could enter the ear. If the eardrum develops a tear, it can affect your hearing and sense of balance.
Also known as a perforated tympanic membrane, a ruptured eardrum is the perfect opportunity for an infection to develop in the middle ear.
What Causes a Perforated Eardrum?
An ear infection is many times the main cause of a ruptured eardrum. If you suspect an infection, see your physician for treatment. With an infection, pressure can grow and push against the eardrum. If the pressure is severe, it can perforate the eardrum.
As mentioned above, any object put into your ears to clean or scratch them can cause a rupture.
Another cause is barotrauma which occurs with a change in air pressure like on an airplane or when scuba diving.
If someone hits you hard against the side of your head and ear, this can cause a perforated eardrum.
Lastly, very loud noises, such as from a gunshot or explosion, can also cause it to happen.
Symptoms of a Ruptured Eardrum
Many people have no symptoms at all of a perforated eardrum. In many cases, it can heal itself with no treatment.
For others, there can be some serious symptoms like the following:
- Sudden long-term hearing loss
- Long-term vertigo
- Long-term dizziness
- Drainage like pus or blood