Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Rupture of the Eardrum
A ruptured eardrum is a tear or hole in the membrane of the middle
ear, usually as a result of injury (trauma). The eardrum may also rupture from
fluid buildup in the middle ear.
A person with fluid buildup in the ear may have severe pain that
gets better or goes away when the eardrum ruptures and the pressure is
relieved. A ruptured eardrum usually drains suddenly, leaking fluid that often
looks like pus and smells bad or may even be bloody.
The eardrum usually heals on its own in 1 to 2 weeks, usually
without hearing loss. But the injury or infection that caused the rupture
usually requires treatment and a visit to a doctor.
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.