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Ruptured Eardrums: Summer Hazards & The Road To Recovery

Ruptured eardrums are a possible hearing health hazard during summer's fun activities, like swimming, fireworks, and other live events. Learn the symptoms of a ruptured eardrum and how to manage it (including how to sleep with a ruptured eardrum).

Ruptured Eardrums: Summer Hazards & The Road To Recovery

Written by Dr. Michael Bard

Maintaining ear health is of the utmost importance no matter one’s age—and it’s especially important to be mindful of it during these summer months, when fun activities like swimming, fireworks, and other loud events are in full-swing. One particular concern during this time is a ruptured eardrum, which can cause discomfort and impact hearing. In this blog post, we will explore the causes, symptoms, treatment options, and recovery process associated with ruptured eardrums, and general advice on managing the condition.

Understanding Ruptured Eardrums

The eardrum, also known as the tympanic membrane, is a thin layer of tissue that separates the outer ear from the middle ear. Its primary function is to transmit sound vibrations to the middle ear. A ruptured eardrum occurs when this delicate membrane tears or develops a hole. Many summer activities such as diving, swimming, sudden loud noises, or trauma to the ear can increase the risk of eardrum rupture.


Ear Pain: Ruptured eardrums often cause sharp or intense pain in the affected ear. The pain may subside once the eardrum has ruptured, but it can continue or worsen if an infection develops.

Hearing Loss: Temporary hearing loss or a decrease in hearing sensitivity can occur due to the disruption of sound transmission caused by the ruptured eardrum.

Tinnitus: Some individuals may experience a ringing or buzzing sound in the affected ear.

Ear Drainage: Ruptured eardrums can result in a clear, bloody, or pus-like discharge from the ear.

Vertigo: In some cases, a sense of dizziness or imbalance may occur.

Treatment & Recovery

Medical Examination: Above all else, if you suspect a ruptured eardrum, it is important to seek medical attention from an Otolaryngologist. They will examine the ear using an otoscope to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the rupture.

Conservative Management: In many cases, small ruptures can heal on their own without intervention. Your doctor may recommend avoiding water exposure, swimming, and activities that could further damage the eardrum. Antibiotic eardrops may be prescribed to prevent infection.

Surgical Intervention: Large or non-healing ruptures may require surgical intervention. The procedure, called tympanoplasty, involves repairing the eardrum using a graft taken from your own tissues or synthetic materials. This surgery helps restore hearing and prevent recurrent infections.

Sleeping with a Ruptured Eardrum

Sleeping comfortably while dealing with a ruptured eardrum is a particular concern for patients. To help you sleep better during your recovery, we recommend you…

Elevate Your Head: Using an extra pillow or sleeping with your head slightly elevated can reduce discomfort and minimize the risk of fluid accumulation in the middle ear.

Choose the Correct Side: If only one eardrum is ruptured, try to sleep on the opposite side to avoid placing direct pressure on the affected ear.

Use Ear Protection: Wearing earplugs or cotton balls can help muffle noise and provide a sense of comfort while sleeping.

Recovery & Follow-up

The healing process for a ruptured eardrum can take several weeks to several months, depending on the size of the rupture and your overall health. It is essential to attend follow-up appointments with your Otolaryngologist to monitor the healing progress. They will evaluate the condition of the eardrum and assess if further intervention is required.

Prevention is Key

While accidents happen, taking preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of ruptured eardrums. When engaging in activities with excessive noise levels, such as concerts or sporting events, use earplugs or earmuffs to protect your ears. Before swimming, ensure the water is clean and free of potential contaminants, and avoid diving into shallow water to prevent impact injuries. In general, be cautious to avoid inserting objects into your ears, and seek medical attention if you experience sudden ear pain or injury.

It is crucial to safeguard your ear health while enjoying all the fun that summertime has to offer. If you experience symptoms of a ruptured eardrum, promptly seek medical attention from an Otolaryngologist at Advanced Specialty Care—with proper diagnosis, treatment, and care, most ruptured eardrums can heal, allowing you to fully enjoy the season’s activities while preserving your hearing abilities. Call today at (203) 830-4700 or request your appointment online at to book your appointment in Danbury, New Milford, Ridgefield, or Norwalk, CT.

Profile photo of Dr. Michael Bard, MD. Dr. Bard is an ENT who has been practicing at Advanced Specialty Care since 1993.

– Dr. Michael Bard

Michael Bard, MD specializes in Ear, Nose & Throat conditions, Head & Neck Surgery and Thyroid & Parathyroid surgery. Dr. Bard has been practicing at Advanced Specialty Care since 1993 and has received numerous Top Doctor awards and accolades. Dr. Bard sees adult & pediatric patients at Advanced Specialty Care in Danbury & Norwalk, CT.


Advanced Specialty Care Ear, Nose & Throat and Head & Neck Specialists are recognized as some of the region’s top ENT Physicians. Call (203) 830-4700 to schedule an appointment with a Specialist at any of our convenient offices in DanburyNew MilfordNorwalk and Ridgefield, CT.

Advanced Specialty Care's Ear, Nose & Throat specialists--Drs. Michael Bard, James Batti, Dov Bloch, Jay Klarsfeld, Danielle Warner, and PAs Donna Haupt and Naomi Steinfeld.

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