Eardrum Injuriesenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-eardrumInjury-enHD-AR1.jpgA "popped" eardrum is more than just painful - it can sometimes lead to hearing loss. Learn about ruptured eardrums and how to prevent them.eardrum, ear drum, ear, popped, ruptured, perforated, perforate, rupture, pop, burst, pinna, ear canal, earwax, ear wax, inner ear, outer ear, middle ear, cochlea, hearing, hearing loss, deaf, injury, ear infection, pressure,, CD1Balance (Vestibular) Disorders09/07/201111/14/201911/14/2019Patrick C. Barth, MD09/20/2019e40e1551-dc7a-461d-b6ef-94c5c366a477https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/eardrums.html/<h3>What Is a Perforated Eardrum?</h3> <p>A perforated eardrum is a tear or hole in the ear's <strong>tympanic membrane</strong> (the eardrum). A perforated eardrum is also called a <strong>ruptured eardrum</strong>.</p> <p>A perforated (PER-fer-ate-id) eardrum can hurt, but most heal in a few days to weeks. If they don't heal, sometimes doctors do a surgery to fix the hole.</p> <h3>What Does the Eardrum Do?</h3> <p>The <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ears.html/">eardrum</a> is a thin piece of skin-like tissue that's stretched tight &mdash; like a drum &mdash; across the opening between the ear canal and the middle ear.</p> <p>The outer ear funnels sound waves into the ear canal that hit the eardrum and make it vibrate. The middle ear and inner ear change the vibrations to signals that the brain senses as sounds.</p> <p>A ruptured eardrum can't vibrate as well as it should. This can cause a hearing problem, which often is temporary.</p> <h3>What Causes a Perforated Eardrum?</h3> <p>Many things can tear an eardrum, such as:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Using cotton swabs. </strong>Sticking anything into the ears raises the risk of infection or damage to the ear canal or eardrum. Cotton swabs are handy for grooming needs, but <strong>should not be used</strong> to clean the ears or remove <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/earwax.html/">earwax</a>.</li> <li><strong>Sudden pressure changes (barotraumas).</strong> Most of the time, the air pressure in the middle ear and the pressure in the environment are in balance. But things like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flying-ears.html/">flying in an airplane</a>, driving on a mountain road, or scuba diving can cause a sudden change in pressure that can rupture an eardrum.</li> <li><strong>Loud noises (acoustic trauma).</strong> Very loud noises, like an explosion, can create sound waves strong enough to damage the eardrum. Loud noise also can cause temporary or permanent damage to the cochlea.</li> <li><strong>Head trauma.</strong> A direct blow to the ear or a severe head injury from something like a car crash can fracture (break) the skull bone and tear the eardrum.</li> <li><strong>Direct trauma to the pinna and outer ear canal.</strong> A slap on the ear with an open hand or other things that put pressure on the ear can tear the eardrum.</li> <li><strong>Ear infections.</strong> An infection of the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/otitis-media.html/">middle ear</a> or inner ear can cause pus or fluid buildup behind the eardrum. This can make the eardrum burst open.</li> </ul> <h3>What Are the Signs &amp; Symptoms of a Perforated Eardrum?</h3> <p>The typical first sign of a perforated eardrum is pain. A child might have:</p> <ul> <li>mild to severe pain that may get worse for a time before suddenly decreasing</li> <li>drainage from the ear that can be clear, pus-filled, or bloody</li> <li>hearing loss</li> <li>ringing or buzzing in the ear (tinnitus)</li> <li>dizziness or vertigo (a feeling that the room is spinning)</li> <li>rarely, weak facial muscles</li> </ul> <p>Call the doctor right away if your child has any symptoms of a perforated eardrum. Even though most perforations heal on their own, it's important to make sure any hearing loss is temporary.</p> <p>Go to the emergency room right away if your child has:</p> <ul> <li>bloody discharge from the ear</li> <li>extreme pain</li> <li>total hearing loss in one ear</li> <li>dizziness that causes vomiting</li> </ul> <h3>How Is a Perforated Eardrum Diagnosed?</h3> <p>To check for a perforated eardrum, doctors check the ear canal with a lighted instrument called an <strong>otoscope</strong>. Often, a doctor can see the tear and sometimes the tiny bones of the middle ear. In some cases, fluid draining from the ear can make it hard to see the eardrum.</p> <p><img class="center_this" title="View of a normal eardrum and a perforated eardrum" src="https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/illustrations/EarDrumPerf_a_enIL.jpg" alt="View of a normal eardrum and a perforated eardrum" /></p> <p>The doctor also might:</p> <ul> <li>order an audiology exam to measure how well the child hears at different pitches and volumes</li> <li>order a tympanometry to measure the response of the eardrum to slight changes in air pressure</li> <li>send a sample of fluid draining from the ear to a lab to check for infection</li> </ul> <h3>How Is a Perforated Eardrum Treated?</h3> <p>Most perforated eardrums heal on their own in a few weeks without treatment. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease pain.</p> <p>To help prevent or treat an infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. These might be a pill that your child swallows, but sometimes can be ear drops.</p> <p>If the eardrum doesn't heal on its own in a few weeks, an ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist may recommend an <strong>eardrum patch</strong>. In this procedure, a doctor puts a paper patch over the hole. Doctors may need to do this a few times until the eardrum fully heals.</p> <p>If these treatments don't work, the ENT specialist might recommend a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/tympanoplasty.html/"><strong>tympanoplasty</strong></a>. In this surgery, the surgeon attaches a small patch of the patient's own tissue or a man-made material to close the eardrum tear.</p> <h3>What Else Should I Know?</h3> <p>While recovering from a perforated eardrum, kids should:</p> <ol class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Never use over-the-counter ear drops unless the doctor says to.</strong> With a hole in the eardrum, some kinds of ear drops can get into the middle ear or cochlea and cause problems.</li> <li><strong>Try to keep the ear canal dry.</strong> The doctor might recommend keeping the ear dry to prevent infection. Gently place a waterproof earplug or cotton ball coated with petroleum jelly in the ear when your child showers or takes a bath.</li> <li><strong>Take care when blowing their nose.</strong> Doing so with force can cause pain and more injury to the eardrum.</li> </ol> <h3>Can Perforated Eardrums Be Prevented?</h3> <p>You can't prevent all perforated eardrums, such as those caused by an infection. But some are avoidable.</p> <p>To help prevent a rupture:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Call the doctor right away if your child has signs of an ear infection.</strong></li> <li><strong>Never stick anything into the ears, even to clean them.</strong> If something stuck gets in your child's ear, have it removed by a health care provider. Trying to do it at home could damage the ear.</li> <li><strong>Avoid flying on airplanes if your child has a cold or sinus infection.</strong> If you have to fly, have kids chew some gum during takeoff and landing. They also can try to equalize the pressure in their ears by yawning or swallowing. Babies should be breastfed or given a bottle or sippy cup to drink during takeoff and landing.</li> <li><strong>Get lessons before scuba diving.</strong> These teach kids how to equalize the pressure in their ears. They shouldn't scuba dive if they have an ear infection, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sinusitis.html/">sinus infection</a>, or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cold.html/">cold</a>.</li> </ul>Lesiones de tímpanoLa mayor parte de las lesiones timpánicas se curan en pocas semanas y no provocan problemas. Cuando el tímpano no se cura por sí mismo, puede ser necesario intervenirlo quirúrgicamente a fin de corregir la lesión y de restablecer una audición normal.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/eardrums-esp.html/3ad9c79e-0bc5-4e26-b97f-cae24bea4dfb
Can Loud Music Hurt My Ears?Loud music can cause temporary and permanent hearing loss. Learn how to protect your ears so you won't be saying, "Huh? What did you say?"https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/rock-music.html/4f1d6c6d-b485-4f3c-8755-268031bd53b3
Dealing With EarwaxEarwax helps protect the eardrum and fight infection. Parents shouldn't attempt to remove earwax at home, as doing so risks damage to the ear canal and, possibly, a child's hearing.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/earwax.html/951981fb-6281-41be-8563-200c9d3d6c87
Ear InjuriesEar injuries not only can affect a child's hearing, but sense of balance too. That's because our ears also help keep us steady on our feet.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ear-injuries.html/6fc83c4f-3990-4df7-8894-4bc49079f617
EarbudsEarbuds are basically a tiny pair of speakers that go inside the ears. They're fine at low volumes, but they can cause permanent hearing loss if not used properly. Find out what's safe (and not) in this article for teens.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/earbuds.html/4a49d64c-29fe-4aa2-b7da-780d6c8ba685
EarsHearing is their main job, but it's not all your ears do. Find out all about them in this body basics article for teens.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/ears.html/0e069e5b-afbe-4a02-91fb-cf89eac5a427
First Aid: EarachesAn earache requires a visit to the doctor's office. Here's what to do if your child complains of ear pain.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/earaches-sheet.html/c807a9b3-43a8-4e9c-b132-9c8d95d121a7
Hearing Evaluation in ChildrenHearing problems can be overcome if they're caught early, so it's important to get your child's hearing screened early and checked regularly.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hear.html/f867639c-fb49-46cc-a897-8386816dad97
Hearing ImpairmentHearing impairment occurs when there's a problem with or damage to one or more parts of the ear. Find out its causes and what can be done to help correct it.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/hearing-impairment.html/66d2cedf-4bea-4da5-b6f2-62fd222fd246
How the Ears Work (Video)The ears gather sounds from our environment and turn them into messages for the brain to decode. Learn more in this video about the ears. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ears-video.html/7c3d7a77-13d5-4f22-82b4-59abb8cbe688
Is Earwax Removal Safe?Is it OK to use cotton swabs to remove earwax?https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/remove-wax.html/1d6f462b-a1eb-4bef-9b0b-8cd77296a96d
Middle Ear Infections (Otitis Media)Ear infections are common among kids and, often, painful. Find out what causes them and how they're treated.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/otitis-media.html/e9397262-2aa6-4c43-b09e-1ce26c2ae7da
Senses Experiment: Model EardrumHow does the eardrum work? Find out by trying this experiment.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/experiment-eardrum.html/9460b656-f7b5-461b-9389-619113b492a3
Swimmer's EarYou swam! You splashed! And now you have it: swimmer's ear.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/swimmers-ear.html/7b0baae5-7667-4ef4-a45c-f759da0d0885
Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal that can be caused by different types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent or treat it.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/swimmers-ear.html/e85e0f78-f168-471d-a08a-650ff72eb191
Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal caused by many types of bacteria or fungi. Find out how to prevent it.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/swimmer-ear.html/da79a667-8579-45a4-bb16-268bfd4c4005
Taking Care of Your EarsHow do you take care of your ears? Find out in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/ear-care.html/9bc04e54-3fe6-452c-8d9f-989c34ec781e
What Is an Ear Infection?A middle ear infection happens when germs like bacteria and viruses get in your middle ear and cause trouble. Read this article to find out more.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/ear-infection.html/86a8006f-2941-43ac-b7fa-3ff5dba7527c
What's Earwax?Why do our ears make earwax? Find out in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/earwax.html/3d67bbd9-cd08-4fda-854f-abff1d1c67a8
What's Hearing Loss?Hearing loss happens when there is a problem with the ear, nerves connected to the ear, or the part of the brain that controls hearing. Someone who has hearing loss may be able to hear some sounds or nothing at all. To learn more, read this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/hearing-impairment.html/9a3276cb-c032-4e30-8c12-a349f4d911f7
Word! Ear CanalYou'll need a mirror to do it, but take a good look at your ear.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/word-ear-canal.html/0d5a1b2c-024d-4951-afd0-6698b6e1b5bc
Word! EardrumYour eardrum is a really important part of your ear.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/word-eardrum.html/827da086-a584-4e64-93ea-b37df645fa4e
Your EarsNow hear this! Here's an article about ears. Find out how your amazing ears do their amazing job.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/ears.html/0f4e16f5-a934-4961-a1b7-12e8f53619f4
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-otolaryngologyEarNoseThroatkh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-otolaryngologyEarNoseThroatEars, Nose, Throat/Speech & Hearinghttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medical/ears/8749295b-10fa-4ce8-91f9-befbe3b41833https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/illustrations/EarDrumPerf_a_enIL.jpg