Scottsdale ENT: Ruptured Eardrum Experts

Ruptured ear drums are most commonly the result of an ear infection, but may also be caused by severe air pressure changes (barotrauma), loud sounds (acoustic trauma), or by foreign objects such as Q-tips.

The most common signs and symptoms of a ruptured ear drum include ear pain, pus or bloody drainage from the ear, hearing loss, dizziness, and tinnitus. Ruptured ear drums leave the middle ear susceptible to infections and may worsen the hearing. Untreated infections can spread to nearby tissue in and around the ear, and in some rare cases, into the skull, resulting in meningitis.

Treatment and repair can vary depending on the size, severity, and symptoms including:

-In office repair using a microscope with a patch or fat from the ear lobe

-Tympanoplasty (Surgical procedure in the operating room) via the ear canal or incision behind the ear

After surgery, most patients will experience minimal discomfort and will heal over a few weeks. Most will be able to resume normal activity shortly after.

If you or someone you know is suspected to have a ruptured ear drum, call our experts at Scottsdale ENT for an appointment at 480-684-1080.

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.