Scottsdale ENT Ruptured Eardrum Experts for Scottsdale, AZ

Your eardrums are a critical component in the natural process of hearing, receiving sound vibrations that are transmitted to the middle ear, and then sending those to your brain for interpretation. If your eardrum becomes perforated or ruptured, it no longer vibrates the way it should, causing problems with your hearing.

Since approximately 150,000 tympanoplasties are performed each year, which are only necessary for about 10% of cases, ruptured eardrums or tympanic membrane perforations (TMPs) could affect up to 45% of the U.S. population on an annual basis. Besides leading to hearing loss, a TMP can make the middle ear more vulnerable to infection.

Perforated eardrum management is critical to restoring your hearing as well as ensuring that your middle ear stays healthy. With the right care, ruptured eardrums usually heal within a few weeks, but they sometimes require a patch or surgical intervention to repair them.

Our doctors at Scottsdale ENT are experts at treating and caring for ruptured eardrums.

Signs of a Ruptured Eardrum

The tympanic membrane is a tightly stretched layer of thin tissue, similar to the head of a drum, which helps transmit sound vibrations from the outer ear, through the middle ear to the inner ear and auditory nerve. A perforation or rupture of the tympanic membrane leads to hearing loss and can also cause an ear infection in the middle ear should you get water in the perforated eardrum.

Recognizing eardrum damage symptoms are a signal that you need to seek the help of a doctor of audiology or ENT doctor. Signs of a ruptured eardrum can include:

  • Sudden hearing loss (deafness or muffled sound)
  • Earache or ear pain (ongoing or comes and goes)
  • Itching in your ear
  • Fluid leaking from your ear (mucus-like, pus-filled, bloody drainage)
  • Running a fever
  • Ringing or buzzing in your ear (tinnitus)
  • Spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Nausea or vomiting resulting from vertigo

These symptoms go away once your eardrum has healed or any infection in your ear has been treated.

ENT doctor performing eardrum evaluation at Scottsdale Ear Nose & Throat

What to Expect During Your Appointment for a Perforated Eardrum

An appointment for a perforated eardrum is like most medical consultations, but with a doctor of audiology or an ENT specialist. To help facilitate the process of diagnosing and treating your condition be prepared with information like:

  • Symptoms you are experiencing (hearing loss, fluid discharge, fever, tinnitus, dizziness, etc.)
  • Any activities that might have led to a traumatic event (head trauma, foreign objects in your ear, explosions, etc.)
  • Recent ear infections
  • Recent air travel, swimming, diving, or rapid changes in pressure
  • Medications, including any vitamins or supplements you’re taking

After discussing your case, your ENT specialist will conduct a visual inspection of your ear using an otoscope, which is a magnifying glass with a tapered end with a light on it.

Once testing is complete, you and your doctor will discuss the results of your evaluation and come up with the necessary treatment solutions to heal your eardrum rupture and any other challenges that might be associated with it, such as an infection or permanent hearing loss.

Perforated Eardrum Treatment

Tympanic membrane perforation treatment is usually pretty minor. In most cases, a perforated eardrum will heal itself within a few months without any intervention, but your ENT doctor might prescribe antibiotics to prevent or deal with an existing middle ear infection.

In more severe cases, interventions might include an eardrum patch, which is a synthetic patch used to close a tear or hole in the eardrum that won’t close on its own. This is an in-office procedure done by an ENT.

In the event that neither natural healing nor an eardrum patch provides the desired effect, your ENT might recommend a surgical intervention known as a tympanoplasty. A tympanoplasty is an outpatient procedure with an 85-90% success rate that involves grafting a patch of your own tissue to close the hole in the eardrum (if general anesthesia is necessary, a longer hospital stay may be required.)

ENT specialist treating a perforated eardrum at Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat

Consult Scottsdale ENT for Treatment of a Ruptured Eardrum

Your tympanic membrane, or eardrum, plays a critical role in helping you process sound. Should it become damaged due to a rupture or perforation, it can lead to deafness, muted sound, or a middle ear infection.

Most tympanic membrane perforations (TMPs) heal on their own within six weeks to three months, but you will want to seek the help of our ruptured eardrum specialists at Scottsdale ENT to treat any existing infections, ensure that your condition doesn’t lead to an infection or to repair a TMP that won’t heal on its own.

To learn more about how we treat a ruptured eardrum or to schedule a consultation, just complete and submit the adjacent form and we’ll contact you to answer your questions or schedule an appointment.

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.