Proper function of the ear requires that the air pressure within the middle ear is equal to that of the surrounding atmosphere. Sudden changes in pressure can either put outward traction on the eardrum or cause it to collapse. In either event, the result can be pain and diminished or muffled hearing. Any pressure change can damage the eardrum; most commonly it occurs with descents when flying or scuba diving. Patients may experience sudden fullness, pain and decreased hearing in one or both ears.
Our physicians check for a retracted eardrum, blood behind the eardrum or a perforation of the eardrum on examination with an otoscope.