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Ruptured Eardrum: Traumatic

The eardrum is a thin membrane about one inch from the opening of the ear canal. It is easily injured by putting pencils, sticks, bobby-pins or Q-tips into the ear canal. It is also injured by a loud noise close to the ear or a slap to the ear. This will cause pain and some hearing loss on that side. There may be some clear or bloody drainage the first day.

If no infection is present, then antibiotics are not needed. The goal is to keep the ear dry and clean until the eardrum heals. Normal hearing returns in most cases, but a follow-up exam with an ear specialist is advised (Ear, Nose & Throat doctor).

Home Care:

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

  • Do not put any drops into your ear unless prescribed by your doctor.

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

  • Pain control: Unless another medicine was prescribed for pain:Children may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever, fussiness or discomfort. In infants over six months of age, you may give ibuprofen (Children's Motrin) instead of Tylenol. [NOTE: If your child has chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.] (Aspirin should never be used in anyone under 18 years of age who is ill with a fever. It may cause severe liver damage.)Adults may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).[NOTE: If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.]

Follow Up

with your doctor within the next two weeks or as directed by our staff to ensure that the eardrum is healing. A hearing test should be done after the eardrum has healed to be sure your hearing has returned to normal

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) oral or higher, not better with fever medication

  • Fluid drainage from the ear for more than 24 hours

  • Increasing ear pain

  • Headache or dizziness

 

 
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