What are the most common symptoms of a perforated eardrum?

A perforated eardrum is a condition in which the ear's tympanic membrane is perforated or ruptured, typically causing pain and discomfort within the ear; Pain is often the first indication a person has that there is a problem. Other common symptoms of a perforated eardrum are vertigo, hearing loss, a ringing or buzzing in the ear, and discharge of fluid or blood from the ear. Some people may experience only one of these symptoms, while others may experience several of them. It is possible to have a perforated eardrum and not have any of these symptoms, but simply feel that something is not right with your ear.

The level of pain experienced varies, from mild discomfort to extreme, sharp pain. Someone who suffers from vertigo, which is often described as an illusion of movement, feels that he or his surroundings are moving or spinning when, in fact, he is standing still. Hearing loss is a common symptom of a perforated eardrum, because this part of the ear receives vibrations from the outer ear and sends these signals to the so-called hearing bones in the middle section of the ear.

It is common for people to have a perforated eardrum and not know what caused it. It could be the result of something as simple as a very sudden and loud noise. Other causes include a direct injury to the ear, such as a blow; a sharp change in air pressure; or damage from an object that has been inserted into the ear, such as a pen.

A perforated eardrum is not usually a serious problem and will usually repair itself within six to eight weeks. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent an ear infection, which is a common side effect because a puncture in the thin, protective layer of tissue allows germs and bacteria to reach the middle and inner ear. If the perforated eardrum does not heal on its own, it can be repaired with a simple surgical procedure called a tympanoplasty. Chemicals can also be applied to the side of the tear to encourage healing.

Certain symptoms of a perforated eardrum indicate a more serious problem and should be shared with a doctor. These are difficulty walking, a sudden change in hearing, loss of taste, and an extreme spinning sensation. If the person also has a stiff neck; high fever severe headache; numbness or weakness in the face, arms, or legs; difficulty speaking or opening your mouth; nonstop vomiting, a sudden change in vision; difficulty staying awake; or pain or swelling behind the ear, you should seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms are rare, but may indicate a life-threatening complication of a perforated eardrum.

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