Ear pain. Severe ear pain that comes on very suddenly is usually the first symptom of an eardrum rupture. If the rupture was caused by an infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. These will reduce the swelling and often improve the pain considerably. Depending on the size of the tear, the circumstances, and the likelihood of infection, doctors may give either oral antibiotics or antibiotic ear drops. Additionally, doctors may recommend pain relievers, depending on the circumstances. Pain that becomes worse or begins after initial treatment should be evaluated by a doctor in case infection has set in.