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Had hit on ear and heard a big pop. Started ringing in ear with pain. Is this serious?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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Hi, I was hit in the side of the head really hard...mainly on the ear, then i heard a big pop. Now 18 hours later my ear still feels like it needs to pop and can only hear about 30% out of it. Not really any pain but feels like it's got fluid or something in it. My head feels foggy almost like I have a bad cold. Also I can hear ringing in my ear with slight pain, like an ear ache. Feels almost like im underwater with my ear filled with water. I haven't seen any drainage come out of my ear. I Also felt a couple of weird sounds come out of my other a lawnmower but that ear seems to be fine. (was not hit it that ear. I am built petite so just worried that it could have done some permanent damage. Didn't really want to go to ER.
Posted Sun, 28 Oct 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 52 minutes later

Thank you for your query.

1. Get your ear drums examined by an ENT Specialist, first to rule out a traumatic ear drum perforation as you heard a big pop, have ringing in the ear and a slight earache. If the ear drum is intact, a fluid level may show up behind the eardrum, which may be dull or congested. The ringing in the injured ear and the weird sounds heard in the other ear are known as Tinnitus. It may have been caused by a 'contre coup' injury on the side opposite to a hard hit on the head. This can be treated if it persists after the blocked sensation decreases. There is no way of ruling out an ear drum perforation without an ear examination with an OPD otoscope. This is a very simple examination and I would urge you to get this done at any nearby ER immediately.

2. The simplest way forward is to get a ear examination done and a PTA (Pure Tone Audiogram) and Tympanogram (Impedance Audiogram) done. At least tuning fork hearing tests should be done. Since you can hear only 30%, a Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL) must be ruled out (as against a Conductive Hearing Loss or CHL). Treatment can then proceed accordingly.

3. Regular steam inhalation is one of the best and simplest ways to keep the Eustachian Tubes healthy and functioning. An anti-inflammatory, an anti-allergic and OTC decongestant drops may help. However these should only be taken under strict medical supervision and avoided if you are hypertensive.

4. You may wait a day or so before you proceed to see if spontaneous recovery takes place. Kindly share the test results here. If they are normal, no treatment is necessary. If they are abnormal, I will be able to recommend further treatment. If you wait very long, the trapped fluid may thicken to a glue like consistency and not be able to drain into the nose.

5. There is no cause for worry. Most traumatic ear drum perforations heal on their own as long as the ear is dry and there is no infection. An SSNHL, if present, should be treated immediately, otherwise it may become permanent.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had hit on ear and heard a big pop. Started ringing in ear with pain. Is this serious? 24 hours later

Thank you for your response. I did see an ENT Specialist today, and I have a hole in my eardrum..he said it would probably heal on it's own and placed paper over the hole to promote the healing process. So hopefully it heals well and my hearing is restored back to normal. Thanks again for your input.
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 49 minutes later

Thank you for writing back.

1. The paper patch will form a support to help faster healing of your ear drum.

2. Do remember to get a PTA (Pure Tone Audiogram) done.

3. Keep a track of the Tinnitus.

Wish you a speedy recovery.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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