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Q. My ruptured ear drum healed with scarring and is paining now. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Surabhi Chopra
and medically reviewed by Dr.Nithila A
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 27, 2019 and last reviewed on: Oct 04, 2019

Hello doctor,

Seven years ago, I ruptured my right eardrum. I recently went to my doctor because I lost some of my hearing, and I have been having pains in my right ear. My doctor told me that the ear drum healed but there is a lot of scarring on it. Why is my eardrum hurting if it is improved?

Dr. Surabhi Chopra

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)


Welcome to

1) A ruptured eardrum, if not infected, is not a serious condition as it will usually heal by itself within 6 to 8 weeks. It is a skin-like structure, and it heals like a skin that is cut heals. In your case, you had a perforation in the eardrum seven years back, and since then you have not had ear discharge, there is a high possibility that the eardrum has healed.

2) The doctor you have visited must have done an otoscopic examination of your eardrum (looking into the ear canal with a lighted, magnifying instrument called otoscope). Scarring of the drum is called tympanosclerosis. It occurs due to calcification if the tissues in the eardrum and middle ear. If extensive, it may involve your hearing apparatus (chain of small bones for hearing) and affect hearing. I will advise you to get an investigation for a hearing called pure tone audiometry. This will give a clue about the degree and hearing loss. Treatment for hearing loss whether it can be cured by surgery or you need to use a hearing aid will depend on the reports of audiometry.

3) Causes for earache can be,

1. Infection of the ear canal outside the eardrum (otitis externa).

2. Eczema of the ear canal (seborrhoeic dermatitis).

3. New infection of the eardrum (acute otitis media).

4. Any dental or throat infections.

The cause for earache can be diagnosed only after a full ENT examination. Kindly request your doctor for a microscopic examination of your ear canal apart from an otoscopic examination as it provides a better magnification and one can visualize even the fine details. I hope this helps.

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