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Ruptured/Burst Eardrum in Children


What is a ruptured eardrum in a child?

A ruptured eardrum, also known as a perforated eardrum, is a hole or tear in the tissue that is located between the middle ear (eardrum) and ear canal. This can cause hearing loss, infections, and injury in the middle ear. Ruptured eardrums can occur in people of all ages including children and infants.

What causes a ruptured eardrum?

A ruptured eardrum can be caused by any of the following:

  • Ear infection
  • Acoustic trauma (or loud blasts of noise)
  • Head trauma
  • Puncture from a foreign object in the ear
  • Eardrum pressure (barotrauma)

What are the symptoms of a ruptured eardrum?

Signs and symptoms that may indicate a child is suffering from a ruptured eardrum include:

When should I take my child to a doctor for a ruptured eardrum?

If your child experiences any of the above symptoms, call an ear, nose and throat specialist, such as New York ENT. The middle ear is very sensitive and can cause permanent hearing loss in some cases. Visiting an ENT doctor as soon as you notice symptoms is important in preserving a child’s hearing.

How is a ruptured eardrum diagnosed in children?

Your child’s ENT physician will usually conduct a visual inspection of the ear, as well as one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Lab testing to rule out bacterial infection
  • Tuning fork evaluation to detect hearing loss
  • Audiology exam (hearing test)
  • Tympanometry to detect perforation in eardrum

How is a ruptured eardrum treated?

Home remedies are often helpful in treating a ruptured eardrum, and the condition can heal itself in a few months or less. Ways to help the recovery process include:

  • Keep ear dry by using earplugs when swimming or showering
  • Avoid blowing your nose, which adds pressure and can lead to further damage to the eardrum
  • Do not clean ears until the perforation has healed entirely

If you believe your child may have a ruptured eardrum, the first step is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of hearing and ear conditions. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.

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