A ruptured eardrum can be painful and cause discomfort in the ear. It is often caused by infection, blows to the ear from sudden loud noise or foreign objects being placed in the ear. Some people experience pain in only one ear while others have a rupture in both ears. It is important to sleep on the unaffected side to avoid putting pressure on the ruptured eardrum until it heals. The doctor may prescribe antibiotic ear drops to help with the pain and inflammation and prevent a recurrence of the rupture.
A good night’s rest is essential for everyone but it can be difficult to get when dealing with a ruptured eardrum. In addition to pain and discomfort, people who have a perforated eardrum can also experience tinnitus or hearing loss which can interfere with sleep.
The optimal sleeping position is lying on the healthy side with the injured ear facing upwards. This allows any drainage to flow freely out of the ear, facilitates healing and reduces infection risk. It can also be useful in preventing the occurrence of vertigo and dizziness which can occur when moving during sleep.
The position is usually most comfortable when using a body pillow which supports the head and neck. This can help to keep the affected ear at a slight tilt which further aids in draining and reducing irritation. Having the ear elevated will also protect it from environmental factors such as dust and allergens that can exacerbate symptoms and prolong recovery.