When too much fluid builds up in the middle ear, it can put pressure on the eardrum until it ruptures (shown here). Signs of a ruptured eardrum include yellow, brown, or white fluid draining from the ear. Pain may disappear suddenly because the pressure of the fluid on the eardrum is gone. Although a ruptured eardrum sounds frightening, it usually heals itself in a couple of weeks. Unless it happens repeatedly, ruptures have no permanent effect on hearing.