The eardrum is a crucial part of hearing, which is why when it is damaged, you can suffer from hearing loss. This delicate part of the ear is a similar to a thin flap of skin that, similar to a drum, vibrates when noise hits it. This is how sounds travel through the ear and eventually turn into sounds that the brain interprets for us to understand. Due to the delicate nature of the eardrum, it can be damaged from some common events. Here are the top 3 common causes of a ruptured eardrum that you should work to actively prevent.
- Ear infections are one of the most common causes of ruptured eardrums. When fluid fills the ear from an infection it puts pressure on the eardrum which puts it at risk of rupturing. If the pressure builds up too much it can burst through the thin skin flap which causes pain and hearing loss. Hearing loss is often temporary and once the eardrum has healed will return to normal.
- Pressure changes around you, especially sudden ones can also cause a ruptured eardrum. When this happens it is called barotrauma – which means an injury due to water pressure changes or air pressure changes. This is often associated with scuba diving during descension or in more rare cases from airplane travel during detention as well. In the most minor cases, it causes your ears to keel like they need to pop. In more serious cases the change in pressure can cause the middle ear to fill with fluid which can cause a rupture. The change in pressure can also cause your ear to act like a vacuum which pulls the eardrum inward and damages it.
- Using a cotton swab also puts you at risk for a ruptured eardrum. Any foreign objects in your ear put you at a higher risk of damaging your ear. Contrary to popular belief, you should never put a cotton swab in your ear, it will only push wax further into the ear. They should be used only on the outer parts of the ear.
Keeping your ears safe from infection and injury is one way to prevent hearing loss. For anyone who has any questions about about hearing loss you can contact the hearing professionals at Whisper Hearing Center. Call us to schedule a hearing exam and to learn more about hearing loss treatment options that may be right for you.