Symptoms of a burst ear drum

Updated July 19, 2017

A burst eardrum is when a tear or a hole occurs in the eardrum. An eardrum may burst if a foreign object is placed into the ear and it makes contact with the eardrum. An eardrum may also burst from a middle ear infection, head trauma, changes in air pressure and loud blasts or sounds. If you have the symptoms of a burst eardrum you should visit your doctor for confirmation and treatment.

Ear Pain

When an eardrum bursts it causes pain. This pain is generally fast, sudden, sharp and very jolting. The intense pain does not last long and is often replaced with mild pain. People who have middle ear infections and who have been experiencing extreme ear pain due to fluid build-up on their eardrums may find that their ears feel somewhat better after their eardrums have burst and the initial pain from the burst has subsided.

Fluid Drainage

A burst eardrum may drain. Bursts that occur from infection in the ears most always have some drainage. Drainage may be clear, bloody or filled with pus. Ruptured eardrums produced by noise or changes in air pressure may have little or no drainage.

Hearing Loss

A burst eardrum can affect the hearing. Hearing loss may be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. It's important to see a physician if you think you have a burst eardrum so treatment can be started to help ward off severe or permanent hearing loss.


The ears play an important part in the equilibrium. A person who has a burst eardrum may feel dizzy. This feeling of vertigo generally passes quickly.

Nausea and Vomiting

A ruptured eardrum can produce nausea. The nausea is usually caused by the vertigo. Vomiting may occur, which is a result of the nausea. Since the feeling of vertigo passes fairly quickly, the nausea and vomiting also subside.


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About the Author

Leigh Walker has been working as a writer since 1995. She serves as a ghostwriter for many online clients creating website content, e-books and newsletters. She works as a title flagger and writer for Demand Studios, primarily writing home and garden pieces for and Walker pursued an English major/psychology minor at Pellissippi State.