Your personal percussionists beat loud enough to entertain and inform you. Once the sound waves travel into the ear canal, they vibrate the tympanic membrane, commonly called the eardrum. The eardrum is the sensory element in your ear. The rest of the ear serves only to pass along the information gathered at the eardrum.
A ruptured eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation) is a tear in the thin tissue that separates your ear canal from your middle ear. It may result in hearing loss that usually heals within a few weeks without treatment. Occasionally, a ruptured eardrum requires surgery to heal.
- Clear, pus-filled or bloody drainage from your ear
- Ear pain that may subside quickly
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in your ear (tinnitus)
- Spinning sensation (vertigo)
- Nausea or vomiting that can result from vertigo
A tympanic membrane perforation can be caused by a middle ear infection (otitis media), barotrauma (imbalance between air pressure in your middle ear and the environment), loud sounds or blasts (acoustic trauma), foreign objects in your ear, or severe head trauma.
Audiologists perform hearing tests. Otolaryngologists treat ear conditions. In the Weber test, a 512 Hz tuning fork is placed on the patient’s forehead. If the sound is louder on one side than the other, the patient may have either an ipsilateral conductive hearing loss or a contralateral sensorineural hearing loss. Other tuning fork tests include the Bing and Schwabach tests.
Order The Ear: Organs of Hearing and Balance anatomy poster to hang more details about this subject on your exam room, lab or classroom wall and protect your drums.