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View Full Version : How can you tell if you have a hole in your eardrum?



BlueDolphin
February 12th, 2005, 06:12 AM
Besides the obvious (go see a doc).

How do you know if you have a hole in your eardrum? When it happens is there a great deal of pain?

Snowbear
February 12th, 2005, 06:36 AM
Hmmmm... well... strategic use of mirrors, lights and an otoscope should be revealing ;)

I've never busted an eardrum, but I've stumbled across a few threads on SB where folks say the ear pain actually goes away when the drum breaks.

molksmith
February 12th, 2005, 07:04 AM
Go See a Doctor,
I would imagine you would exhibit some symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, not being able to hear would be one sign.
In all seriousness go to a specialist immediately. No matter what ear problems you have. It could be wax, could be slight barotrauma, could be more serious. But there is no joking when it comes to your ears.
Would you wait if one of your eyes didn't work?
when it comes to the five senses I don't play around.

D

scubatoys
February 12th, 2005, 08:07 AM
If it happens in the water, you should get massive vertigo, then that will go away in a bit, then anytime you try to equalize, you may get bubbles coming out the ear... then a very clogged feeling at the surface after you get out.

Actually, the holes will heal pretty quick and should not have any permenant hearing damage... but bad infection untreated can cause more problems than the hole did. So if there is a chance you have this... run to the ENT... If it's a question for general knowledge... hopefully that helps!

jbd
February 12th, 2005, 08:32 AM
Besides the obvious (go see a doc).

How do you know if you have a hole in your eardrum? When it happens is there a great deal of pain?
As the pressure on one side of the eardrum increases you will feel increasing discomfort and and pain. Once the eardrum ruptures, the pain will go away immediately(as noted in Snowbears post) and you will most likely have vertigo(as noted in scubatoys post) caused by the cool of cold water entering the middle ear space.
As scubatoys notes a small tear will heal on its own in most cases, but infection is a problem. If this has happened to you then you need to go to your doctor so he or she can prescribe appropriate medication to prevent/treat infection. You need not necessarily see an ENT. Unless there is something way out of the ordinary with your ears most all doctors, nurses and physcian's asstistants can evaluate the condition of your eardrum with an otoscope.

mania
February 12th, 2005, 10:49 AM
When eardrum ruptures it's really very painfull. So you will know that something happened.
And if it's a small hole then you have to go to the ENT - microscope is needed to check the eardrum. Otoscope is not enough. The small hole heals by themselves with a minor loss of hearing. But if it's more serious then it should operate by ENT.
So - simply go to see ENT.
Mania

BlueDolphin
February 12th, 2005, 11:22 AM
Hmmmmm thanks all.

No pain at all.


I just noticed all of a sudden that when I burp or sometimes swallow I notice a defenite crackle like gurgle sound in one ear only. The same ear. Almost like there is air escaping from inside out. Just kinda weird. It just started happening. At first I thought it was a cold or ear infection coming on... but it has been a week and no other symptoms.

I'm gonna jump in the pool and see if I notice any troubles. Just curious if there is any pain, etc., associated with an eardrum hole, burst, etc.. It sounds like it could be a small hole perhaps. I hear fine with the ear.

Anyway..... thanks a bunch.

StSomewhere
February 12th, 2005, 03:36 PM
I just noticed all of a sudden that when I burp or sometimes swallow I notice a defenite crackle like gurgle sound in one ear only. The same ear. Almost like there is air escaping from inside out. Just kinda weird. It just started happening. At first I thought it was a cold or ear infection coming on... but it has been a week and no other symptoms.
You very likely have fluid behind your eardrum if you have a "crackle like gurgle sound". Trust me, you can have an inner ear infection and never have the standard cold systems. We've had quite the outbreak of inner ear infections around here for the past month or so.

BTW, when the pressure builds up behind an eardrum is when its most painful. After it ruptures, the pressure on the eardrum is released and the pain goes away but the eardrum still would need to heal before diving.

PaulChristenson
February 12th, 2005, 04:04 PM
Hmmmmm thanks all.

No pain at all.


I just noticed all of a sudden that when I burp or sometimes swallow I notice a defenite crackle like gurgle sound in one ear only. The same ear. Almost like there is air escaping from inside out. Just kinda weird. It just started happening. At first I thought it was a cold or ear infection coming on... but it has been a week and no other symptoms.

I'm gonna jump in the pool and see if I notice any troubles. Just curious if there is any pain, etc., associated with an eardrum hole, burst, etc.. It sounds like it could be a small hole perhaps. I hear fine with the ear.

Anyway..... thanks a bunch.

Just curious...why would you not go to a physician and have it diagnosed and treated properly???

Paul in VT

DCROOK
February 12th, 2005, 05:34 PM
Turn you head sideways, if you brain falls out, you have a hole.

liberato
February 12th, 2005, 06:39 PM
Generally, you will know when you have a perforation. Acute pain followed by relief and usually subsequent discharge and inability to pressurize that ear. But you need to actually see the tympanic membrane while you perform a Valsalva so if any of the above conditions were true you should get it diagnosed by your regular physician. Treatment is simple and most heal without invasive procedures. No need to see an expensive specialist unless referred due to complications. But frankly, your description does not sound like a perforated eardrum (the crackling sound is coming from your Eustachian tubes).

molksmith
February 12th, 2005, 06:41 PM
Please GO TO THE DOCTOR...THIS IS DRIVING ME NUTS!!!

BlueDolphin
February 12th, 2005, 09:54 PM
Ummmmm I hate doctors and hospitals? lol. Actually I would go if it lasted longer than 7 days or so.

Thanks all. I think that you are right about the ear infections. I heard from someone else that it has been goin around.

It is getting better day by day... so I am sure it is nothing to worry too much about.
I plan on diving this week, and was just gettin bummed at the prospect of not being able to go.

BlueDolphin
February 12th, 2005, 09:56 PM
Lol... Dcrook.

molksmith
February 13th, 2005, 07:09 AM
You may hate going to the doctor...hahaha
But trust me it stinks to go diving and find out you can't.
Often times with the worst inner ear problems you don't even feel pain.
Even if it's just to get antibiotics for an infection...YOU MUST GO....
Hate to sound like a broken record but ear stuff is really serious for diving.
But if you have fluid in your ear (sounds like it) it may take longer than a week to drain. I have just cleared up from fluid I had 6 weeks ago. You go diving on a bad ear you may get hung up from diving for a lot longer, 8-12 months.
As a diver seeing the doctor before you go on trips is critical.
Check out the thread on Barotrauma.
So this is my last attempt to persuade you to help yourself.
GO SEE AN EAR GUY. You can do serious damage to yourself and in some extreme cases kiss diving goodbye forever.

BlueDolphin
February 13th, 2005, 01:26 PM
Will do.

I am going to stop in to see my doc on Monday. Thanks for the push.

Swimmerette
February 16th, 2005, 09:31 PM
Hi. I've had five tympanoplasties (eardrum surgeries) and ear problems since I was a child. I agree that you should see a dr., but if you want protection p.d.q., you can, if you are in Mexico for instance, go to a pharmacia and get some Cypro or other antibiotic w/o seeing a dr. Mexican pharmacists have helped me with more problems over the years than I can recount.

skeet
February 16th, 2005, 10:56 PM
My daughter said one night that her ear itched for a little while when she went to bed, the next day while sitting in class her classmate said " their is blood coming out of your ear ". Went to Doc,comfirmed rupture due to a tube clog ( used for recurring ear infections ) but she complained of no pain. Pain maybe only associated with sudden pressure differential as can happen within diving.

liberato
February 17th, 2005, 03:48 AM
...go to a pharmacia and get some Cypro or other antibiotic w/o seeing a dr. But of course, if he went to a doctor he would then know that CIPROŽ HC Otic Suspension is contraindicated (http://www.alconlabs.com/ca_en/aj/products/cipro-pm1.jhtml) for eardrum perforations along with all his other symptoms.

JasonH20
February 17th, 2005, 04:12 AM
Well about 2 weeks ago I was borrowing someone elses BC for a dive (I don't have my own yet). I checked everything out on the surface and everything seemed as I expected so off we went for our dive.

We swam out from shore on the surface and then started our descent when we were in 35 feet of water or so. I vented the BC and started to drop. Everything was going fine until I went to add some air to the BC and ended up fumbling around trying to press the inflator button. My right ear started have problems equalizing but since I was focused on trying to get air in my BC I neglected equalizing the ear. About 25 feet down the pressure and pain was relieved to a long wheeez sound. No vertigo, no pain, no problems. I finished the dive with no ill effects. After the dive, my ear seemed fine, so I did a second dive with no problems. Even that night I didn't notice any problems with the ear.

The next day it felt a bit muffled but again nothing that concerned me too much. But the following day my ear started to discharge clear fluid. eek. So I went to the doctor like a good boy, and yep, I had a small tear in my right ear drum. Doctor prescibed 10 days worth of antibiodics, and all is good now. I'm going on my first dive since the incedent this Sunday, so cross my fingers everything is OK. :)

So I guess the moral of the story is; a) Be familiar with your equipment! and b) go see a doctor!

Happy diving,
Jason

Lawman
February 17th, 2005, 02:53 PM
1. Face a bright light
2. Turn 90 degrees left or right
3. Look in the other ear. If you can see light it's punctured.

Tassie_Rohan
February 18th, 2005, 09:52 AM
You're not a real diver until.... you can inhale on a cigarette and blow smoke through your ears.

BlueDolphin
February 18th, 2005, 12:22 PM
lmao.

nauidiver2004
February 18th, 2005, 01:36 PM
Mine only hurt for about 3 or four minutes. Then there was fluid, lots of it. other than that it just felt weird. After a day when things didn't get better I knew I had perforated the eardrum when my Dr. said, "ken, you perforated your eardrum".

GoBlue!
February 19th, 2005, 05:48 PM
So I guess the moral of the story is; a) Be familiar with your equipment! and b) go see a doctor!

Ummm, and c) equalize early & often, thereby avoiding seeing the doctor. ;)

Jim

JasonH20
February 20th, 2005, 01:04 AM
FYI, I did 2 dives today and my ears worked like champs. It's been a little over 2 weeks since I hurt my right ear and was a bit tenative about the first dive. No problems, and if was great to get back in the water.

Happy Diving,
Jason


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