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What are the treatment options for an ear injury?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Treatment options depend on if the ear injury is external or internal. Severity will determine if you need to seek medical treatment.

For external injuries, treatment depends on the extent of damage. For this type of injury, there may be cuts, abrasions, bleeding, bruising, or swelling of the skin. For minor injury, apply pressure until the bleeding stops, then clean the wound, and dress it loosely with sterile gauze. Seek medical help if part of the ear has been cut off (being sure to take the ear with you); if bleeding will not stop after applying direct pressure for 10 minutes or longer; if there is a wide gash that may need stitches; if the ear is very swollen; or if blood or clear liquid is coming from the ear canal. Treatment may include stitches; draining of a hematoma (a swollen area that contains an unusual amount of blood); a tetanus shot if the wound was dirty and you have not had a shot in several years; or imaging tests if the blow to the ear was severe or if blood or clear liquid (brain fluid) is coming from the ear.

For internal injuries, treatment depends on what caused the damage. If a foreign object is in the ear, use gravity (tilt the affected ear toward the ground) to see if the object will fall out. If an insect is in the ear, turn the affected ear up to see if the inset will fly or crawl out. If the object or insect does not easily come out, seek medical help for removal. If the eardrum is ruptured, many times the eardrum will heal itself in a matter of weeks. If the eardrum will not heal on its own, a paper patch may be placed over the rupture to stimulate growth. If the patch does not work, surgery may be needed to repair the rupture.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.