Home Health information 5 Causes of Broken Ear Drum, from Trivial to Need to Watch Out for
5 Causes of Broken Ear Drum, from Trivial to Need to Watch Out for

5 Causes of Broken Ear Drum, from Trivial to Need to Watch Out for


The eardrum is one of the most important parts of the sense of hearing to catch sounds from outside. With the eardrum, you can enjoy the sounds of music, birdsong, and other sounds. However, many people say that the habit of cleaning the ears with a cotton bud and the pressure while riding a plane can be the cause of a ruptured eardrum. Is that true?

What does a broken eardrum look like?

The eardrum ruptured in medical terms is called a tympanic membrane perforation. This occurs when the tympanic membrane is torn so that it is hollow. The tympanic membrane is a thin tissue that divides the middle ear and the outer ear canal.

Normally, the tympanic membrane will vibrate when sound waves enter the ear. This vibration will be continued to the hearing bones in the middle ear and converted into nerve impulses to the brain, so you can hear the incoming sound.

If the eardrum is broken or damaged, the middle ear certainly cannot receive vibrations. You risk experiencing temporary or permanent hearing loss, depending on how severe your condition is.

What are the symptoms of a ruptured eardrum?

Ear pain is one of the most common symptoms of a ruptured eardrum. This is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • The ear canal contains pus.
  • Bloody ears.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Ears ringing (tinnitus).
  • Vertigo.
  • Nausea and vomiting, usually caused by vertigo.

What causes a ruptured eardrum?

There are many causes of ruptured eardrums, namely:

1. Entry of foreign particles

Foreign particles that go too deep into the ear can increase the risk of a ruptured eardrum. This includes those of you who often clean your ears with cotton buds or iron ear cleaning, these objects can hurt the ears deeper, push the earwax inwards, and trigger infection.

This condition is very often experienced by children who like to insert foreign objects into their ears. So, be careful for parents and keep an eye on your child while playing.

2. Middle ear infection (otitis media)

Middle ear infection or otitis media is one of the most common causes of a ruptured eardrum, especially in children. This is caused by too much fluid accumulating behind the eardrum. As a result, the resulting pressure causes the eardrum to risk tearing and rupture.

3. Hear the sound too loud

Shock when you hear the sound of lightning, explosions, or very loud rifle shots can also make the eardrum burst. Similarly, for those of you who are not accustomed to watching concerts with loud speaker sounds, then you should be careful with the risk of a ruptured eardrum.

4. High pressure on the ear

High pressure in the ear or barotrauma is a condition when the air pressure in the middle ear with the outside environment is not balanced, often occurs when you get on a plane. When the plane takes off, the pressure in the aircraft cabin will decrease or rise dramatically. While the pressure in your ears will be greater and risk causing a ruptured eardrum.

In addition, barotrauma can also be caused by scuba diving, speeding on the road while driving, to direct blows to the ear.

5. Severe head injury

Also Read:

  • Avoid Cotton Bud, Here's How to Clean the Right Ear
  • 6 Causes of itchy ears that often go unnoticed
  • 4 things that most often cause runny ears

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Reviewed Date: October 4, 2018 | Last Edited: October 4, 2018


Ruptured Eardrum (Perforated Eardrum). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ruptured-eardrum/symptoms-causes/syc-20351879. Accessed 10/10/2018.

Eardrum Rupture. https://www.healthline.com/health/ruptured-eardrum. Accessed 10/10/2018.

Ruptured Eardrum: Symptoms and Treatments. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/ruptured-eardrum-symptoms-and-treatments#1-2. Accessed 10/10/2018.