The tympanic membrane is better known as your eardrum. More specifically, it’s the ultra-thin tissue that is delicately stretched over your eardrum. It gently vibrates to send signals to your brain for interpretation. 

This is a very sensitive part of your ear and should be protected at all costs. Many hearing problems can arise if your tympanic membrane is perforated or ruptured. 

Our experienced team has many years of experience dealing with TMP here in the Scottsdale area. In most cases, the issues can be prevented, and we want everyone to know how they can take better care of their eardrums. 

Symptoms of a Ruptured Eardrum

  • Sudden sharp ear pain, either ongoing or recurring
  • Drainage from the ear that may resemble pus or blood
  • Buzzing or other noises that only you can hear (tinnitus)
  • Ear infections
  • Dizziness/vertigo

Causes of TMP 

Physical Damage — This is easily the most common problem we see, and, almost all the time, it’s preventable. Damage to your tympanic membrane can happen if you use cotton swabs. Even if you manage to avoid damaging your eardrum, you will most likely push more earwax into your ear. This causes its own set of problems as well. Please never use cotton swabs for your ears. 

Ear Infection — The build-up of pressure during an infection can press against the membrane, which will cause it to perforate or rupture. We always recommend getting treatment for your infections, as they will only worsen over time. 

Loud Sounds — Although rare, if you’re close enough to gunfire or fireworks, these one-time events can cause severe damage to your eardrum. Always wear hearing protection when in the presence of loud activities. 

The First Step To Relief is to Schedule a Consultation With One of Our Tympanic Specialists Right Here.

Types of Tympanic Membrane Perforation

TMP presents in three different ways:

Attic Eardrum Perforation

This occurs in the superior section of your eardrum and can lead to cholesteatoma or be associated with a deep retraction pocket. It can change the location of your eardrum or membrane and cause pain and a lot of difficulty hearing. 

Central Eardrum Perforation

This type can happen anywhere on the membrane itself and can be any size. Ruptures can be as small as a pinhole or engulf the entire tympanic membrane. Some cases will heal on their own, but we always recommend a consultation just to be certain. 

Eardrum Margin Perforation

This happens when there is a perforation where the eardrum and ear canal meet. If this happens, skin can start to grow through and can cause a cyst within your ear. As this cyst grows, it can have a negative impact on the bones within your ear and even start to affect your facial muscles. 

How To Treat Tympanic Membrane Perforations

Correcting TMP is a case-by-case situation that can include anything from surgery to allowing it to heal on its own. Even if the diagnosis is to let it heal, we still may prescribe some antibiotics to prevent infection within the middle ear.  

If surgery is required, it may only be minor. Small perforations can be patched using synthetics. This procedure is done on-site. For more severe cases, we will prescribe a tympanoplasty. This is when a patch of your own skin is grafted to the eardrum to seal up the hole.  

Scottsdale ENT Is Your First Line of Defence

The first thing we do is schedule a consultation. At this meeting, we will get all the information we need to develop a diagnosis. First, we inquire about your current state and what level of pain, if any, you are experiencing. 

Next, we perform a physical examination to see if any issues are glaring. By using an otoscope, we can see deep into the ear canal and pinpoint the problem. 

From there, we may require more tests, such as tympanometry. This is a test that measures the response time of your eardrum based on differing vibration levels. 

No matter your issue, we won’t stop until we have found a solution for your hearing problem. To get relief or to help a loved one who may be suffering, please contact us at any time. 

We are always standing by to lend a hand or even just to answer your questions. Prevention is our number one tool to fight hearing loss, so the more you know, the better chance you have at enjoying healthy hearing for many years.    

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Debra L. Hamila, Au.D., CCC/A

Debra Hamila received her master’s degree in audiology from Cleveland State University and her Au.D. from Arizona School of Health Sciences and has been a practicing audiologist for more than 33 years. She has worked in a variety of ENT offices, hospital, and clinical settings.
    You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again – Regina’s Story

    Regina has suffered from hearing problems since she was an infant, recognized as regular chronic ear infections. And, as with unfortunate events, she has experienced a multitude of audiology catastrophes.

    It was many years before Regina crossed paths with Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat; where her lifetime of hearing problems was addressed effectively and treated with the delicate care that she desperately required.

    Regina’s journey began when she was taken to a regular paediatrician by her mother from a young age. Her ears were, what we describe as an audiologists recipe for disaster, ‘flushed out’.

    This dangerous procedure caused a nasty infection, which spread to her mastoid bone and, at the age of 15, she underwent a tympanoplasty mastoidectomy to stop the infection spreading. This only forbade her future struggles with hearing loss. 

    As with poor diagnosis, Regina was faced with another canaloplasty which didn’t work. Soon after, she received a BAHA, which is a cochlear implant in her skull that acts as a sound processor that detects sound and transforms it into vibrations. 

    However, suffering from a history of poor hearing care, she was unaware of the former issues her ear presented.

    By now, this would be described as any audiologists nightmare. But, we’re proud to have helped Regina on her road to optimum hearing and reconnect her to her loved ones.

    When she arrived at Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat it was evident that she was losing hearing on her right side. At this point, she was fitted with a ReSound hearing device, which provided the catalyst to a new and improved hearing.

    The first thing Regina noticed was the indefinite sound she had been making whilst emptying the dishwasher, completely unaware of the noise she was making!

    “I mean, the detail that I can hear now it’s like, Whoa, I didn’t realize I was making that much noise. I need to be quieter!”

    Treated with professional care, Regina received a comprehensive hearing assessment with Dr. Debra Hamila.

    “I just love, love, love Dr. Hamila, she is such a professional and loving person. I was so impressed with the office and what she did with the ReSound, I just love her.”

    Like many others, it takes years for people to realize they have a hearing problem. Regina described this moment as life-changing.

    “You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again. Especially now I’m a full-time Grammy Nanny, I can hear so much more and it has enriched my life incredibly.”

    What advice would you give to someone who is deliberating on taking the first step towards better hearing?

    “My advice to them would be to have a hearing test. Especially as we age our hearing goes down. It’s really unfortunate that people carry their pride and are not willing to learn to walk with the rock in their shoe. You don’t realise you’re waking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again.”

    Regina is one of many patients who has been impacted by our audiological services and we are proud to have been able to provide the tool towards better hearing and a lifetime of many more memories.