Doctors and providers who treat this condition


Ruptured Eardrum, Traumatic

The eardrum is a thin membrane about one inch from the opening of the ear canal. It is easily injured by objects put into the ear canal. It may also be injured by a loud noise close to the ear or a slap to the ear. A ruptured eardrum will cause pain. There may be some clear or bloody drainage. A buzzing sound may be heard in the ear. Some hearing may be lost the affected ear.

The goal is to keep the ear dry and clean until the eardrum heals. Antibiotics may be prescribed if infection is present. Follow-up with ear and hearing specialists is advised. In many cases, hearing returns to normal after the eardrum heals.

Home care

  • Keep a cotton ball in the ear to keep it clean and protect the inner ear.

  • Do not use eardrops unless prescribed by the healthcare provider.

  • Do not get water in your ear when showering or bathing. No swimming until approved by the healthcare provider.

  • Take any prescription or over-the-counter medicines as advised.

Follow-up care

Follow up with specialists for test or exams as directed. A hearing test should be done soon after the injury. Also follow up within 2 weeks to check healing of the eardrum.

When to seek medical advice

Fever in children:

  • Child is 3 months old or younger and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher. (Get medical care right away. Fever in a young baby can be a sign of a dangerous infection.)

  • Child is younger than 2 years of age and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) that continues for more than 1 day.

  • Child is 2 years old or older and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) that continues for more than 3 days.

  • Child is of any age and has repeated fevers above 104°F (40°C).

Fever in adults:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C)

Also call for any of the following:

  • Fluid drainage from the ear for longer than 24 hours

  • Increasing ear pain

  • Worsening headache or dizziness

  • Worsening hearing loss


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