Ruptured Eardrum Healing Time

Ruptured Eardrum Healing Time


Ruptured Eardrum Healing Time

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. Many times, people who have ruptured an eardrum in an accident, have asked how long it takes for an eardrum to heal. Here’s what the research shows.

The ruptured eardrum healing time varies based on the severity of the injury but there is valuable information that people should keep in mind.

Eardrum Ruptured Due to Sudden Trauma

Many people believe a ruptured eardrum is an injury only seen in children because this is the population that commonly winds up with ear infections. While this is largely true, eardrums can also be ruptured suddenly due to trauma. When a car is clipped on either the front or the back of the car, the car is often spun around due to the sudden, major force applied by the second vehicle. Because the driver and passengers’ heads are not strapped in, it is not uncommon for people to smack their heads with major force against the window. This can cause serious head injuries as well as a rupture of the eardrum due to the sudden force applied to the ear canal. As an auto accident lawyer, I have seen multiple clients with this type of ear trauma and it can be quite painful.

Ruptured Eardrum Symptoms

Symptoms of a ruptured eardrum can range in severity based on the size of the hole in the eardrum. The most obvious symptom will be pain. Patients will commonly notice severe pain in the ear that was impacted in the car accident. There will likely be marked swelling and discoloration due to the bruising at the site. Depending on the severity of the injury, people will also notice fluid draining from the ear. This can change from clear fluid to pus colored or even frank blood depending on the impact. People also do not realize that the inner ear is responsible for balance. If the eardrum was heavily perforated in the accident, it is likely that patients will experience severe dizziness and the nausea that accompanies this sensation. Finally, patients will also notice hearing loss and possible tinnitus, or ringing in the ear.

Diagnosing a Ruptured Eardrum

After a review of symptoms, the doctor will conduct a physical exam to assess the integrity of the ruptured eardrum. This is usually a painless exam, but with a perforated eardrum it can be tender, especially if there is swelling at the site. All that is needed to diagnose a ruptured eardrum is an otoscope exam that will use light and a magnifying glass to look at the eardrum. If there is blood or pus, the doctor may need to wash the ear canal out to obtain a better view. This can sometimes be uncomfortable. If there is any concern for broken bones due to trauma, the doctor may perform x-rays. This information is valuable when estimating the ruptured eardrum healing time.

Ruptured Eardrum Healing Time

Ruptured eardrum healing time is variable but will usually heal in a few weeks without any surgery. The doctor may provide antibiotics to prevent an infection. If this doesn’t heal, then a specialized ENT surgeon will seal the hole with a patch. The surgeon may also apply a special medicine to encourage healing of the tissue. A patch is only required for severe eardrum perforations. Most heal on their own within a month.

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I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, please give me a call anytime at (916) 921-6400 or free of toll at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

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Image attribution: By David Benbennick – CC BY-SA 3.0,


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