The tympanic membrane (eardrum) separates the outer ear from the middle ear. The eardrum quivers when sound waves strike it.
Middle and inner parts of the ear bones and nerve endings at that juncture send a nerve impulse that travels to the brain. When the eardrum is damaged, the hearing course is broken up.
Ear infections may cause a ruptured eardrum, more commonly in children. The infection causes pus to build up behind the eardrum. The eardrum may crack or rupture as the pressure rises.
Injury to the eardrum can occur from:
- A very loud noise (acoustic trauma).
- Pressure variation in the middle ear ensue when flying, deep sea or mountain diving.
- Foreign bodies in the ear.
- Inserting cotton buds or small items into the ear to clean them.
- Ear trauma (such as a powerful blow or bang).
- Ear discharge.
- Ear noise/buzzing.
- Ear pain or ear uneasiness.
- There may be an abrupt ear pain followed by ear discharge.
- Facial weakness, paresis or dizziness (in more severe cases).
- Hearing damage in the affected ear.