You may not have any symptoms. Symptoms that sometimes occur include:
- Earache, severe and increasing in its severity
- Earache, severe, then subsides and is followed by discharge from the ear
- Drainage from the ear—may have blood or pus
- Hearing loss or difficulty hearing out of the affected ear
- Buzzing or other noise in the ear
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor will examine the ear with an otoscope and look to see if the eardrum has been perforated. The perforation is sometimes difficult to see because of the thick drainage in the ear.
Doctors may also perform an audiology test to determine if any hearing loss has occurred.