Ruptured eardrum


A torn eardrum, also known as tympanic membrane perforation, occurs when there is a breach in the delicate membrane separating the ear canal from the middle ear. This condition can lead to diminished hearing capabilities and increases the risk of infections in the middle ear. Often, a ruptured eardrum will mend on its own within several weeks without the need for intervention. However, in certain cases, it may necessitate the application of a patch or undergo surgery for proper healing.


Signs and symptoms of a ruptured eardrum:

  • Ear pain: Initially intense, this pain may diminish rapidly.
  • Drainage from the ear: You may observe a discharge that resembles mucus, is pus-filled, or contains blood.
  • Hearing loss: A decrease in hearing acuity can occur.
  • Ringing in the ear (tinnitus): This condition may manifest as a persistent ringing or buzzing sound.
  • Vertigo: You might experience a sensation of spinning, affecting your balance.
  • Nausea or vomiting: These symptoms can arise from the vertigo.

if you experience any of these signs or symptoms, it is crucial to contact your healthcare provider promptly. The structures within the middle and inner ears are highly sensitive to damage or disease. Identifying the cause of these symptoms and determining the presence of a ruptured eardrum is essential for proper care.


Potential causes of a ruptured (perforated) eardrum may encompass:

  • Barotrauma. Barotrauma occurs when there is an imbalance between the air pressure in the middle ear and that of the surrounding environment, placing stress on the eardrum. Severe pressure discrepancies can lead to eardrum rupture. Barotrauma commonly arises from air pressure alterations during air travel. Additional instances that may prompt abrupt pressure changes, potentially resulting in a ruptured eardrum, include scuba diving and direct impacts to the ear, such as those from automobile airbag deployment.
  • Middle ear infection (otitis media). A middle ear infection frequently leads to fluid buildup in the middle ear. The pressure exerted by this fluid accumulation can induce the rupture of the eardrum.
  • Loud sounds or blasts (acoustic trauma). A loud sound or blast, such as those produced by explosions or gunshots, which essentially comprise overpowering sound waves, can occasionally lead to a tear in the eardrum.
  • Severe head trauma. Significant trauma, such as a skull base fracture, can result in the dislocation or harm to structures within the middle and inner ear, including the eardrum.
  • Foreign objects in your ear. Tiny objects, like a cotton swab or hairpin, have the potential to puncture or tear the eardrum.