The Mayo Clinic lists hearing loss, ringing in the ear, a spinning sensation, ear pain that quickly subsides and a clear, pus-filled or bloody drainage from the ear as signs of a ruptured eardrum. Prompt medical attention is important to protect the sensitive mechanisms of the ear.
The Mayo Clinic states that middle ear infections, barotrauma, loud sounds or blasts, foreign objects and head trauma cause an eardrum to burst. A middle ear infection causes fluids to accumulate in the ear, creating pressure around the eardrum to make it rupture; barotrauma occurs from air pressure in the middle ear causing the eardrum to rupture; a loud sound of explosive sound can tear the eardrum; placing small objects in the ear, such as a hairpin or cotton swab, can cause the eardrum to rupture; and head trauma, such as a skull fracture, can damage the eardrum.
The Mayo Clinic explains that possible complications from a ruptured eardrum include hearing loss, middle ear infection and middle ear cyst. The size of the hole in the eardrum typically determines the degree of hearing loss, and the loss is usually temporary. A burst eardrum has the possibility of ongoing infections caused by bacteria being able to enter the opened eardrum, and a middle ear cyst occurs when the debris normally caught by earwax passes into the middle ear and forms a bacteria-filled cyst.