The eardrum, a thin layer of tissue that separates the ear canal from the middle ear, vibrates when it is hit by sound waves. In turn, those vibrations pass through the bones of the middle ear and are transformed into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. If the eardrum ruptures (due to very loud noises, ear infections, pressure changes between the outside and inside of the ear drum, injury or foreign objects inserted into the ear), hearing loss, earache, discharge, and/or loud buzzing noises can result. Inspection of the ear with an otoscope can help determine the extent of damage. Fortunately, any associated hearing loss can be expected to be short term, and the tissue may repair itself within two months. To help prevent rupture of the eardrum, do not insert objects, especially cotton-tipped swabs, into the ears. While each hearing loss is unique, most people share common experiences as a consequence of their hearing loss. Individuals affected by hearing loss often feel isolated from their surroundings, experience difficulty meeting new people or facing new surroundings and often complain of appearing incompetent or feeling insecure. We feel it is important that our patients understand about hearing, hearing devices, and options that are available. To schedule a hearing evaluation, please call our office.