Ruptured Eardrum

The tympanic membrane or eardrum is a very important part of our ear.  This thin layer of tissue which divides the outer ear canal and middle ear helps to transmit sound vibrations. It also helps to protect the middle ear from foreign objects such as water or bacteria.

A rupture or tear of the eardrum can lead to serious complications such as hearing loss or infections of the middle ear.

There are a number of things that can cause our eardrums to rupture. They include:

  • Ear infections -When the middle ear is infected, this can result in fluid accumulating behind the eardrum.  Pressure from this buildup can cause the tympanic membrane to break.
  • Barotrauma- This occurs when there is a change in pressure. If the pressure inside the ear is drastically different from that outside the ear, this can lead to perforation. An example of this is when an airplane changes altitude causing air pressure in the cabin to rise or fall.
  • Direct trauma to the ear or side of the head- These injuries can be sustained from an ear slap or falling on the ear.
  • Acoustic trauma – A sudden, loud noise or blast such as an explosion can produce sound waves that are powerful enough to cause injury.
  • Foreign objects- Inserting objects such as a cotton swab or hairpin into the ear canal can puncture the eardrum.

Pain is the most common symptom of an eardrum rupture; however, you may also experience:

  • Ringing or buzzing in the ear
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Drainage of pus or fluid from the ear
  • Hearing loss

It is important that you see a doctor if any of these symptoms occur.   An Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor can determine if you have a ruptured eardrum by using an otoscope to conduct an inspection.  Additional testing can include, audiology exams, a tuning fork evaluation or tympanometry which measures the response of the eardrum to slight changes in air pressure.

According to Jamaica Hospital ENT specialist Dr. Sandra Ho, a ruptured eardrum can usually heal on its own. Depending on the reason for the perforation, painkillers and/or antibiotics may help during the healing process. However, if it does not heal in a few weeks, your ENT may recommend an eardrum patch. This procedure involves a doctor placing a medicated paper patch over the hole.  In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the perforated eardrum. This procedure is known as a tympanoplasty which involves taking tissue from another part of the body and grafting it onto the hole in the eardrum.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sandra Ho or other ENT specialists at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7110

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Conditions That Can Affect Your Sense of Smell

Ear Nose and Throat Doctor in Jamaica Queens Every year, thousands of people lose their ability to smell.  According to the National Institutes of Health, 12% of adults in the United States have had some loss of their sense of smell.

A loss of smell can significantly affect a person’s quality of life.  Because smell and taste are linked, most people with a smell disorder are unable to properly taste their food.  Most importantly, they may not be able to detect smells that warn of danger such as smoke or gas.

The inability to smell is typically the result of a problem occurring in the nose, brain or nervous system. One’s loss of smell can be partial or reduced (hyposmia) or complete (anosmia).  In both cases, a loss of smell can be temporary or permanent.

Several conditions can lead to hyposmia; they include:

  • Colds
  • Nasal allergies
  • Flu
  • Hay fever
  • Sinus infection
  • Deviated septum
  • Hormonal imbalances

Anosmia can develop as a result of:

  • Head trauma
  • Upper respiratory viral infections
  • Nasal/ sinus diseases
  • Nasal polyps
  • Bone deformities of the nose
  • Alzheimer’s disease

If you have lost or have had a decline in your ability to smell, you should see a doctor immediately.   Your doctor can perform a physical examination, review your medical history and request a series of tests to determine possible causes. Treatment for smell disorders is based on underlying causes and can include medication or surgery.

To schedule an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7110.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.