Sudden Ruptured eardrum

I had no infection or sign of anything. I woke up to sudden sharp pains in my left ear on Monday morning. I was freaked but I got up and everything seemed fine except my hearing felt muffled (more so than “normal” for us with hearing loss). I thought perhaps I was getting an ear ache/infection even though I had no more pain like I would usually have for something like that. I had to go to work so I decided to see how I felt later.

I put my aids in (I have CIC) and my ear seemed fine all day except for my hearing feeling lessened. (maybe a bit achey but no sharp pains). I got home from work late that night and took my left hearing aid out and there was brown stuff on it - I thought “that is a lot of wax for me” - Well, it wasn’t wax it was blood! There was some on my ear too. I used a tissue at the front of my ear and watery brown blood there too. I guess my ear was bleed and had blood in it all day.

Of course I was freaked because I didn’t know how this happened. I call my clinic but couldn’t get until the next day and the nurse said it didn’t sound like it was an emergency.

So I go in and the dr (who was young and I hadn’t seen before and really didn’t seem like he knew what he was doing) said I had ruptured ear drum but no one could figure out how it happened (and no I of course do NOT put anything in my ears!). Another dr had to look at my ear and she said there was some “yellow” on my drum which usually means I have/had some sort of infection. Grrr…

I don’t understand how this could come out of nowhere like this???

Anyhow, I was prescribed antibiotics plus some SUPER expensive ear drops which I can’t even afford (I have no health insurance and am out of work).

The dr. told me the drops would cost me $7 but when I went to Walmart to fill the prescription they were $75!!! I didn’t buy them. I got the antibiotics.

I think the drops were called Oxyitcin (sp?).

Do I really need both of these? I had accidentlly puncutured my ear drum in my other ear before but it didn’t bleed and all I got was the oral antibiotics and no drops.

I know that ruptured eardrums need to heal on their own and the antibiotics are for infections. The dr told me to keep my ear dry (showers etc) but than why I am being prescribed drops that are wet??? I don’t get that.

I don’t want to buy $75 drops I do not need. If I knew they were going to be $75 than I would not have said I could afford them. (He said “they will be expensive” and I asked him “how much?” He said “$7”. I said “I can afford that.”) Obviously how could I afford $75 ear drops if I go to a low cost clinic for people who have no jobs or insurance?

This was a very young dr - you could tell he was new. He asked me the SAME questions several times over. I swear, I had to repeat my “ear and hearing history” fives times. Grrr.

Unfortunatley, I can’t go for a “second opinion” because being poor - I have to take what I can get.

Ok, so my rant is done.

But I was wondering if anyone else had something like this happen to them with the eardrum and what sort of treatment they received??

Will this cause more hearing loss for me? Should I try to get the money for the drops?

I just started taking the antibiotics last night.

** bump**

Does anyone have any advice for me on how to care for this?

I finally got some cheaper drops which are helping out alot.

I am having a hard time making sure no water gets in my ear when I wash my hair. (I have been skipping as many days as I can stand and just tying my hair back when it seems dirty but I can only stand it for so long)

I have cotton ball and piece of plastic covering my ear but somehow the plastic doesn’t stay on right and I still end up with some water (although I think the cotton ball absorbs most of it) - Should I be worried if a bit of water might get in there?
Should I dry my with a hair dryer after or not a good idea with a ruptured eardrum?

I forgot I do have the silicon ear plugs -the ones you can mold so next I will use those - but anyone have any proven tips or methods to keep the ear really dry in the shower?

I haven’t had this happen before to me so not sure of what to do. Of course dr. told me to keep ear dry which I have been doing - harder when washing hair. My hair is long.

Any tips on how long this will take to heal? I read two months. Did your hearing return to “normal” after? I am SO worried about this. Obviously I have not been wearing my hearing aid in that ear.

I notice that my cheek feels sometimes swollen near the ear (left side) - I have been taking ibuprofen - I am guessing it would be normal to have some swelling/acheness by the ear or surrounding area because I would guess the inside of my ear is swollen.

Anyone have nausea with this? I do.

I have oral antibiotics for 10 days and drops for a week - seems like a short time to me.

First, are you in the US? If so, if you are low income you should be on Medicaid.

As for keeping water out of the ear, a cotton ball in Vaseline should do it or I prefer the wax plugs you can get at the store that you ball up and fill your ear up (not into the canal really, just the outer part of the ear) if the silicone plugs you have won’t work. Other than those suggestions, I’m not sure how else to keep water out of the ear.

The drops are often prescribed to prevent infection from happening. It is good that you were able to get them. If the same thing happens again (and this goes for anyone) where you get to the pharmacy and the Rx is way more expensive than you planned just call the physician’s office back, tell them the problem and ask if they have something else they can prescribe or if they have any samples. We have this stuff happen all the time. Often a MD doesn’t realize a Rx will be as costly as it is due to insurances or lack thereof. There’s no way to keep all that straight. They won’t be insulated if you call and ask fr a RX you can afford.

I’ve seen peoples TM’s (the membrane that ruptured) heal in a few days to weeks to never where the MD has to go in and patch it although that’s more common when someone had a tube in for too long and the hole became permanent. In general, the patients I see who have this happen have their hearing return to the way it was before it happened, but not always.

Not sure what could be causing the nausea. Do you also have dizziness or a sensation of being off balance?

Industrial foam ear plugs are cheap when bought in quantity. Replace them several tmes a day to keep clean, never reuse them. 200 pair for $19.00. Getting ten pair is almost as expensive as buying a case.

I use them all the time for riding my motorcycle and doing yardwork that requires gas engines.

HI Doc,
Thanks for your reply!
I am in the US but have been told I do not qualify for Medicaid or any other sort medical help. I go to a low cost clinic where I only pay $15 a visit. I was told I don’t qualify for Medicaid because I have no children (funny how I am being penalized for choosing NOT to have kids - should be the other way around).

SO I am done with my oral and drops - 10 days for the oral and only a week for the drops. I have started using the silicon ear plugs and only on the outside than I put a cotton ball on that and little plastic shower cap type of things over the ear which I secure with little mini butterfly clips. They hurt but it does help as long as I try to be careful it stays covered and I tilt my head a certain way when I rinse my hair.

The nausea I was experiencing is gone. I had been experiencing nausea on and off throughout the month of December and Jan - I had gone to my doctor about and she said she thought it was a virus and just to keep an eye on it - well, after that, I STILL had it and than, without any warning, is when my eardrum ruptured. I am wondering if i DID have a virus whether that was responsible for that happening. If so, I am upset about that. She should have given me something. I haven’t had any nausea since I started on the antibiotics so I am wondering if that was it - but I am still keeping an eye out.

I have no dizziness nor did I. Although it is quite exhausting only having one “working” ear (if you can consider my other ear working - I think of it as “half an ear” because of my hearing loss).

My ear is alot better than it was before - the drops made a huge difference. The only thing is that my tube (oh, I don’t have ‘tubes’ in my ears - I meant the Eustachian tubes that we all have - mine pop when I swallow if my ears are clear and no infections) in that ear rarely pop when I swallow anymore. After I started using the drops, I could see some dried blood on the cotton ball so I am sure there was junk in there. That is gone. My ears did start to pop at the beginning. But I did accidentally get a bit of water in there (even with the cotton ball, wax - my plastic bag moved) but not a ton. After than no more popping,

I haven’t been wearing my aid in that ear because I am too scared too. I have the CIC ones Solara Phonex ones and I am worried that they could cause me problems with my healing ear drum. (ok I know I probably worry too much but I am being cautious). So far, I don’t think ALL of my hearing has returned to its “normal” level but I wear my cotton ball all the time. (its cold out).

Just wondering if it would be normal after two weeks of the ear drum rupturing for my tubes to still not pop when I swallow or the hearing not completely turned to normal levels? I have been avoiding sleeping on that ear to be cautious. I tell ya, getting sick of sleeping on my right side!

I was going to wait until my appointment (which isn’t for three weeks! ) to have the doctor look in there and tell me how it is see before I start wearing my aid again.

The “tubes” not popping is more due to the Eustachian tubes not functioning, not really the ruptured drum…although if you had a hole in your TM I’d be surprised that you feel plugged since the hole should eliminate that sensation. It is possible that you have some low frequency hearing loss (most likely temporary due to a hole in the TM) that could be causing that…I can’t say for certain why however.

I think waiting until your MD gives the “all clear” to wear the hearing aid is the best course of action.

You might want to get a second opinion about the Medicaid issue. People come into our office all the time with Medicaid who don’t have children. You might want to consider applying anyway, the worst they can say is no and even then you could appeal it.