Hole in the Eardrum: Causes and Treatment

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Dr. Sushmita Gupta
ENT Specialist / Otorhinolaryngology

Hole in the eardrum: Causes and Treatment

In this video, Dr. Sushmita Gupta, Consultant ENT at Apollo clinic and CHD City Hospital, discusses a common problem: hole in the eardrum or perforation in the ear drum.

What does a hole in the eardrum mean?

A hole in the eardrum means there is perforation in the eardrum or the tympanic membranes. It can be due to some trauma or infection. 

Causes of hole in the eardrums

First is a foreign object in the ear. Often we use things like earbuds or hairpins like sharp objects to itch inside the ear. As a matter of fact, they result in injury or perforation.

What is acoustic trauma?

The second reason is acoustic trauma or loud noise. It can be an explosion or gunshot.

Can travelling in an airplane lead to hole in the eardum?

Barotrauma can also lead to perforated eardrums. When there is an imbalance in middle ear pressure and external air pressure, it ruptures in drum. Sudden pain in the ear while flying or deep driving might occur due to the sudden pressure change or imbalance.

What is a middle ear infection?

The fourth reason is a middle ear infection or otitis media. There is an accumulation of fluid which increases steadily and creates pressure. This pressure, when released, ruptures the eardrum and discharges outside.

Common symptoms of perforated eardrums

If you sense an intense pain in the ear, that may heal eventually. But after pain, some fluid starts discharging from the ear, or your hearing ability is less, and then there is hole in the eardrums. The second reason is any injury or trauma to the ear or head. It might cause ear discharge. Other symptoms include watery or bloody discharge, reduced hearing ability or dizziness, and  tinnitus.

Common problems with perforated eardrums

Reduced hearing ability is one of the most common problems associated with perforated eardrums. If the sound conduction mechanism is impaired, if the perforation doesn’t heal, it might infect repeatedly. It may cause persistent ear discharge and become chronic. 

Do we need surgery for every perforation in the eardrums?

There is a relatively good chance of automatic ear perforation healing in a few weeks or months. However, you may not require further treatment in some cases, patients may have repeated ear infections, and perforation doesn’t heal. There may be a requirement for surgery. 

Surgery for perforated eardrums

These days these surgeries are minimally invasive. By minimally invasive, I mean doctors do these surgeries with the help of an endoscope. As a result, there is less to no scar formation, limited hospital stay, better healing, and faster recovery. 

Bottom Line:

If you have perforated ear drums, you must visit your ENT specialist and find the treatment option. In addition, you must seek treatment for perforated ear drums. Eardrum repair will reduce the risk of repeated infection and improve hearing. 

Thank you.

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