What we call our eardrum is a tissue between our ear canal and our inner ear. It is called like this because it resembles this percussion instrument and with its vibrations it resonates sound while at the same time it is protecting our inner ear from any possible injuries. Any damage done to this tissue is referred to as ruptured eardrum.
Many different factors may be the cause of a ruptured eardrum, however, to be aware of this kind of injury one must recognize certain symptoms. Namely, if you experience any sudden ear pain which goes away quickly as well as same lasting spinning or vertigo sensation, or perhaps, bloody drainage from the ear or even hearing loss, you might suffer from this injury. In such cases, where these symptoms appear, it is best to visit your doctor.
Causes for this injury are various. Eardrum rapture may be caused by direct damage by a foreign object as well as severe skull injuries. Our eardrum is known to be prone to rapture if exposed to excessive air pressure or air pressure changes. Mostly, these occurs in airplane traveling since there are sudden and frequent pressure variations. Additionally, a middle ear infection may also be the cause for this rupture. Fluids from the infection press the eardrum, eventually making a hole in it. If our ear gets exposed to very loud sounds like explosions or sound blasts of any kind, the eardrum may burst in certain places adding these situations to the list of possible causes.
One of the worst complications of this injury is of course loss of hearing. It may vary depending on the size and the severity of the rupture itself, hearing loss being just a temporary thing in the healing process or a permanent hearing damage, either complete or partial.
Various bacteria may enter a ruptured eardrum opening door to a middle ear infection which, if not treated immediately, may also cause permanent hearing loss.
Finally, the wax-like substance normally expelled from our ear may get inside our ruptured eardrum, forming a cyst which may cause significant damage to this region.
In order to avoid this injury, one must simply take care in certain situations. Wear earplugs when exposed to loud noises or high air pressure. Also, be careful when using cotton swabs or similar items for ear hygiene, in order not to damage it. In cases of any possible infections or symptoms mentioned above, contact your doctor as soon as possible and prevent any further ear damage.