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Having a perforated eardrum after a slap on the face. Ringing in the ear. How to return to normal?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 2339 Questions
about 2 and a half weeks ago I got slapped really hard in the side of the face with an open hand. ( it was not hit directly on the ear, but the side of the face and cheek.) I immediately felt a loud pop noise and a loud ringing sound followed. It has NOT stopped ringing since. I visited a couple doctors and an ENT who said I have a perforated eardrum and it should heal within 3 months are less, he also said the ringing should stop too.I do not have pain in the ear or hearing loss, but the ringing is making me really stressful. i am 20 years old and i am concerned that it may last forever because of all the info I read about online from similar cases. I am also having a very hard time falling asleep even with white noise in the background .Please tell me what are the possibilities of this returning to normal and thank you
Posted Sun, 3 Jun 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 6 hours later

Thanks for the query

Definitely, a slap on the face would have induced loud noise resulting in perforation of the ear drum.

Whenever there is a loud noise in the vicinity of the ear, the ear drum vibrates to the fullest extent possible causing the taut membrane to rupture at its weak point. A similar situation is also noticed when there is sudden change in the pressure in the surrounding environment, such as sudden descent or ascent as in flight or diving.

The features of ruptured ear drum include bloody discharge from the ear, sudden reduction in hearing and ringing in the affected ear. The bloody discharge is because of damage to the blood supply to the ear drum. Reduction in the hearing is due to decreased mobility of the ear drum. And finally, the ringing noise in the ear is due to exposure of the middle ear to the external environment and enhancement of the already present sounds in the ear due to transient deafness. A simple experiment you can try by yourself; block the normal ear and you can hear the ringing noise in the same ear till the block is present; the noise disappears once the block is relieved. This is the same phenomenon in the affected ear.

Traumatic rupture of the ear usually heals by itself within duration of 6-8 weeks, if not intervened by any infection. The noise in the ear is a transient phenomenon and it subsides soon after the ear drum is healed.

My suggestions to you are:
1. Avoid water or ear drops into the affected ear.

2. Use swimming ear plugs in the affected ear while taking shower or riding a bike.

3. Avoid catching flu, as infection in the nose can delay the healing. Consult your doctor if you have one.

4. To prevent annoying noise in the ear during the sleep, use a fan which makes noise or a ticking clock to mask the ringing sound.

Hope I have answered your query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
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