Signs and symptoms of a ruptured eardrum include hearing loss, ringing in the ears and a spinning sensation that may cause nausea or vomiting, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients may experience ear pain that subsides quickly, and they may have bloody, clear or pus-filled liquid draining from the ear.
A ruptured eardrum sometimes causes no noticeable symptoms, and some patients only seek medical treatment due to general discomfort in the ear lasting several days, as stated by WebMD. Ear pain associated with a ruptured eardrum may be sharp and sudden, and hearing loss may be complete or partial. Patients may also hear air moving through the ear while blowing their nose, as this action normally puts pressure on a healthy eardrum, causing it to balloon. Patients may also experience frequent ear infections, and facial weakness may occur.
To diagnose a ruptured eardrum, the doctor may perform an otoscopic exam using a lighted instrument to see into the ear, according to WebMD. If there is too much drainage or earwax, the doctor cleans the ear canal to see the tear or hole. He may also blow a puff of air into the ear to see if the eardrum moves when hit, and he may test for hearing loss, a symptom that normally resolves after the eardrum heals.