Perforations in the tympanic membrane, or eardrum, can be extremely painful, but there are luckily a few things sufferers can do to alleviate pain and speed up the healing process. Most perforated or ruptured eardrums typically heal on their own within two to three months of the initial injury. Some, however, may require surgery if the perforation is especially large. The surgery is typically accomplished on an outpatient basis.
Protecting the Ear During Healing
To speed you through the healing process as comfortably as possible, avoid swimming or prolonged immersion of the ear in water. Keep your ear as clean and dry as possible while healing. Dab a cottonball with a bit of petroleum jelly in order to protect your ear against moisture while showering, and keep the ear away from direct wetness or water whenever possible.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eardrops or oral antibiotics to help speed up the process if an infection is also involved in your condition. Ask to see if this may apply to your own condition.
Over-the-counter analgesics or pain killers like aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be effective in relieving the pain involved in most eardrum perforations. Your doctor will be able to recommend a brand that is best for your specific circumstances. Prescription painkillers are not typically required for this injury.
To further alleviate pain or discomfort, apply a heating pad to the ear on a fairly low setting, increasing or decreasing levels as needed for comfort.
Be very gentle when blowing your nose while your eardrum is healing, as violently blowing your nose can not only cause your ears to "pop" and further damage the eardrum, but prove excruciatingly painful otherwise as well.
Do not use any medicine in the affected ear beyond what is prescribed by your doctor. Take all of the medications your doctor prescribes to you according to schedule until otherwise directed.
Contact your doctor if you notice blood, pus or other discharge from the affected ear. You should also contact your physician if you experience nausea, dizziness or a change in equilibrium or develop a marked increase in temperature. Further contact your doctor if your ear remains painful despite all available treatment for pain.
Other Protective Measures
Do your best to protect your ear from extreme wind or cold by using earmuffs in extreme weather. Use a shower cap while showering to minimise water exposure to the affected ear. Minimise use of ear buds or headphones until your ear is fully healed.
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