The eardrum is a very thin membrane located inside the ear. This is an important part of the ear because it helps in our hearing. But because this membrane is so thin, it can sometimes rupture. The eardrum can be ruptured through a number of factors – an object stuck into the ear, an ear infection or even a particularly loud sound.
A ruptured eardrum can be quite painful and you can either use first aid to treat the affected ear or, if it is very severe, undergo surgery.
Since a ruptured eardrum can occur at anytime, it will be a good idea to know how to handle it if it happens.
First, you should know the symptoms of a ruptured eardrum. The most obvious symptom is intense pain inside the ear. It can also be accompanied by compromised hearing or hearing a buzzing noise. Sometimes blood or some fluids will trickle out of the ear.
The patient should be immediately brought to a doctor the moment a ruptured eardrum is suspected. The doctor will be able to confirm it by using a device called an auriscope. An ear specialist or ENT will then be called to further make tests and make recommendations for treatment.
For minor ruptures of the eardrum the patient can take a pain reliever to help in managing the pain. The doctor will also recommend antibiotics in order to protect the patient from any infection. To help keep the ear protected, it can be covered with a clean gauze. This is important since the eardrum is the membrane that separates the outer and middle ear from the inner ear, and this can make the inner ear especially susceptible to dirt and bacteria.
A ruptured eardrum will heal. It will usually take one to two months for it to completely heal. There are some ENTs who may recommend putting on a patch in order to help speed up the healing process. If the ruptured eardrum fails to heal or is not healing well after 2 weeks then a follow-up checkup with the doctor is in order.
For major ruptures, surgery may be required. In this instance, the doctor will have to stitch up the damaged area. After surgery, the patient will have to make regular appointments with the doctor so that the wound can be cleaned and the progress of the healing monitored.
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