Ruptured Eardrum: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

August 3, 2023

Ruptured Eardrum: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
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A ruptured eardrum, can cause discomfort and hearing issues. This comprehensive guide, “Ruptured Eardrum: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment,” will explore signs of a ruptured eardrum, its contributing factors, impact on the body, treatment options, and preventive measures. Whether you’re experiencing ear discomfort or seeking ear health information, this guide provides essential insights.

Table of Contents

  • What is Ruptured Eardrum?
  • Symptoms of a Ruptured Eardrum
    • Ear Pain
    • Hearing Loss
    • Ear Drainage
    • Ringing in the Ear (Tinnitus)
    • Sensation of Fullness
    • Vertigo and Balance Issues
  • Causes of a Ruptured Eardrum
  • Treatment for a Ruptured Eardrum
    • Observation
    • Antibiotics
    • Patching or Tympanoplasty
    • Hearing Aids
    • Avoidance of Irritants
  • Preventive Measures
  • Dealing with the Root Causes
  • Prevention Steps
  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
  • Frequently Asked Questions


What is Ruptured Eardrum?

The thin membrane between the ear canal and middle ear is damaged by a tear or hole, resulting in a ruptured eardrum, which impacts hearing. This damage can lead to various symptoms and potential complications.

Symptoms of a Ruptured Eardrum

The symptoms of an eardrum, which is also known as a membrane perforation, in medical terms can differ in how they appear and how severe they are. Let me explain these symptoms in detail for you,

1) Ear Pain

One of the immediate signs is experiencing pain in the ear. The pain can be sudden and sharp often described as a stabbing or piercing feeling. The intensity of the pain can vary from discomfort, to agony and it might lessen as the eardrum starts to heal over time.

2) Hearing Loss

Hearing loss, often called hearing problems, means not hearing well. It can happen in one or both ears because of age, loud sounds, infections, genes, or medicines. Treatments like hearing aids and implants depend on why it happens and how bad it is. Getting checked early is essential for managing hearing issues.

3) Ear Drainage

A ruptured eardrum can lead to the drainage of various substances from the ear. This may include explicit, watery fluid, pus, or even small amounts of blood. The type of fluid discharged can provide indications about the underlying cause of the rupture. For example, clear fluid might indicate cerebrospinal fluid leakage, a more severe condition.

4) Ringing in the Ear (Tinnitus)

Sometimes people who have an eardrum may notice a ringing or buzzing sensation, in the ear that is affected. This condition, referred to as tinnitus can be quite bothersome and might have an impact, on ones quality of life.

5) Sensation of Fullness

Pressure or fullness can be felt in the affected ear by individuals with a ruptured eardrum. Changes in the pressure within the middle ear frequently cause this.

6) Vertigo and Balance Issues

Individuals may sometimes feel dizziness and balance problems, especially when the rupture is related to an inner ear infection. These symptoms can be particularly concerning and may require medical attention.

The symptoms of a torn eardrum can differ from person to person. It is possible for the outcomes to differ depending on the cause and the effectiveness of the treatment. If you suspect that your eardrum might be torn or if you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is crucial to consult a professional for an evaluation and receive care including a diagnosis and suitable treatment.

Causes of a Ruptured Eardrum

A ruptured eardrum can happen due to reasons. It is important to understand these causes in order to manage them effectively. Here I provide you with an explanation of the factors that can result in an eardrum,

  1. Infections
  2. Acoustic Trauma
  3. Trauma
  4. Barotrauma
  5. Chronic Ear Infections
  6. Foreign Objects
  7. Underlying Medical Conditions

Treatment for a Ruptured Eardrum

The treatment for a ruptured eardrum depends on several factors, such as the size and cause of the perforation. Please read the common treatment methods as listed below,

  1. Observation

In cases of small holes, in the ear tend to heal on their own without any treatment. It’s important to keep the ear dry and avoid inserting objects into it. Make sure to follow up with your doctor for monitoring.

  1. Antibiotics

If an ear infection is responsible for the perforation your doctor might prescribe antibiotics to treat it and prevent complications. Remember it is crucial to complete the course of antibiotics as instructed.

  1. Patching or Tympanoplasty

For nonhealing perforations surgical intervention may be necessary. One option is patching, which involves placing a tissue patch over the hole to aid in healing. Another option is tympanoplasty a procedure that reconstructs the eardrum using tissue grafts. The approach depends on the size and location of the perforation.

  1. Hearing Aids

If hearing loss persists even after the eardrum has healed hearing aids can be beneficial by amplifying sounds and improving communication.

  1. Avoidance of Irritants

During the healing process it’s crucial to avoid things that could irritate the ear such as noises, exposure to water and inserting objects into the ear canal.

  1. Preventive Measures

To protect your ears from damage it is recommended that individuals take measures like using earplugs or wearing protective headgear in noisy environments or during activities that could pose a risk, to their hearing.

  1. Dealing with the Root Causes

If there is a condition or if chronic ear infections play a role, in causing the perforation it is crucial to address these factors to prevent it from happening again.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional who can provide you with a diagnosis and personalised treatment plan. They will consider the size of the perforation, its cause and your overall health in order to recommend the course of action. Seeking attention is essential for achieving the best possible outcome and minimising complications.

Prevention Steps

To prevent a ruptured eardrum, taking practical steps to safeguard your ears is essential. Here’s a more human friendly explanation:

  1. Protect Your Ears: Shield your ears from loud noises by using earplugs or earmuffs in noisy environments like concerts or workplaces with heavy machinery.
  2. Keep Ears Dry: When swimming or bathing, use ear protection to keep water out of your ears, reducing the risk of infections or damage.
  3. Don’t Insert Objects: Avoid inserting anything into your ear canal, as it can harm the eardrum or push earwax further in, increasing injury risk.
  4. Treat Ear Infections: Seek prompt treatment for ear infections to prevent complications like eardrum ruptures.
  5. Equalize Ear Pressure: Practice ear popping techniques to equalise pressure and prevent injury when flying or diving.
  6. Prevent Head Trauma: Wear suitable headgear to protect your head and ears during activities prone to head injuries.
  7. Manage Allergies: Keep allergies under control to avoid excessive earwax production and reduce infection risk.
  8. Safe Ear Cleaning: Gently clean your ears without inserting objects too deeply, respecting the natural role of earwax.

Following these practical steps can significantly reduce the chances of a ruptured eardrum and maintain good ear health. If you have ear related concerns or experience discomfort, consult a healthcare professional for guidance and care.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Knowing when it is necessary to seek assistance for ear problems, such as a potential ruptured eardrum is crucial. If you experience earache difficulties with hearing or persistent symptoms, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional. 

If you encounter indications like ear pain, high fever, dizziness or sudden hearing loss, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Prompt care will aid in the diagnosis of the issue finding the treatment and effectively managing any complications that may arise. Ultimately ensuring the possible outcome for your ears.


It is important to have an understanding of the symptoms, causes and treatment options for an eardrum in order to maintain ear health. The first step is recognising signs such as ear pain and hearing loss. By learning about the causes, we can take measures and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure the possible outcome. Taking care of our ears is crucial. Having knowledge empowers us to keep them protected.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will a Ruptured Eardrum Leak?

A ruptured eardrum’s leaking duration varies by hole size and health. Usually, it takes days to weeks to heal and stop leaking. If it continue, medical help is needed for proper healing. Consult a doctor for guidance on handling a ruptured eardrum.

What Do I Do If My Eardrum Ruptures?

If your eardrum is injured, seek assistance and ensure your ear stays dry to avoid infection. Adhere to your doctor’s recommended treatment, which might involve antibiotics or surgery. Safeguard your ears from loud sounds and refrain from inserting foreign objects.

Is A Ruptured Eardrum Serious?

A ruptured eardrum can be concerning, with seriousness depending on factors like size and healing.  Smaller ruptures can heal naturally, but larger or recurring ones require attention. If you suspect a ruptured eardrum, consult a doctor as soon as possible, especially when you feel severe pain, earless, or ear discharge.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.


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