Thumping in right ear, only triggered by sound

Posted by mdrake2020 @mdrake2020, Jan 11, 2020

This is a strange problem and difficult to explain so please bear with me here. This has been happening for almost 2 years now.

If both of my ears are completely exposed, 90% of the time I have no issues. Hearing is even on both ears. The other 10% of the time, certain midrange frequencies cause my right ear to thump along with the sound and usually only when they're pretty loud.

Now the main issue is that 100% of the time, if my right ear is partially covered for whatever reason (let's say I'm laying down on my side and part of it is covered, if I wear a hooded shirt over my head, or even if I put my hand over my right ear slightly), the thumping happens along with the sound. So let's say someone speaks a 4 syllable word, I'll get a thump with each syllable. Or if I'm hearing footsteps, each footstep causes a thump. This seems to happen along all frequencies (except maybe the very high ones). The weird thing is the thumping doesn't happen if I completely seal my LEFT ear. It'll only happen if my left ear is completely exposed and my right ear partially covered. It doesn't even have to be covered all the way. I can put my hand about 5 inches away from my ear and it'll trigger this problem.

I unfortunately can't afford to go to a ENT right now so I'm hoping someone has an idea about what's going on here. One thing probably worth mentioning is I've had acid reflux for 4 years. I actually went to an ENT because of pain all on my right side….my ear, throat, neck and head. He did an endoscopy but said he didn't see anything there to worry about, and thought acid reflux is causing my pain so he prescribed me some Ranitidine which I've been taking since then (just stopped a few months ago though). It did definitely help the ear pain when I began taking it but I did still have reflux episodes probably once a month throughout the 4 years. I'm thinking maybe this has caused some ear damage but I'm really not sure.

I appreciate any help I can get.

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@bobbypaulk

This. 100% this. This is completely me but with my wife. I am steady Eddie, even-keeled and cool as a cucumber…by nature. But my wife is what brings emotion out of me — both good and “bad”(bad being anxiousness/stresss). We’re complete soulmates I promise.

So crazy story— when she talks lovingly to me, nothing. When she is telling me a story about drama in her family, thumping the whole time. LOL.

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@bobbypaulk Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, a place to give and get support.

May I ask if the symptom of "thumping" in your ear that makes you "nauseous," the reason you have come to Connect?

May I also ask if you have mentioned this to your provider?

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Hello,
I have dealt with this exact issue for the past 8 or so years – a painful “thump” in my right ear when sound is presented to left ear while right ear is covered. Like you stated, when both ears remain uncovered it is rare to experience this thump, but it will occasionally occur with certain frequencies. The “thump” is unique, not a “flutter”, and differs from any sort of tinnitus I’ve experienced. The onset was random; one night I just noticed it happen as I was watching TV. As the years have progressed, this thump has become more painful and easily triggered to the point where I have had to change certain behaviors (for example, positions I sleep in as even the smallest sounds from other areas of the house now trigger this “thump”).

I am currently seeing an ENT for this. My hearing test and audiogram are within normal ranges. We have ruled out MEM (abnormal middle ear muscle movement of tensor tympani and/or stapedius) as no middle ear muscle movement was detected when recreating the “thump” with an audiologist. My brain MRI was normal and showed no evidence of any sort of mass lesion or other abnormality. Our next step is a brain CT to look at the temporal bone to rule out SSCD. My ENT has consulted with numerous other ENTs and surgeons and no one can come to a general consensus on what the issue might be. If a clear diagnosis is able to be made upon further testing I’ll reply with an update. I hope this helps.

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This also happens to me and I would love to know if you have found a solution!!! My right ear drum thumps like a bass drum when exposed to particular frequencies… typically a lower one, but not all. I was just listening to a pod cast, and it was making my ear thump… then switched to another podcast and it stopped. Sometimes it happens when people talk, but only at a particular register. Drives me nuts.

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@mdrake2020

Hi Colleen,

I did come across "pulsatile tinnitus" before I made this post but I believe I read that it happens along with your pulse. That's definitely not what happens in my case. The description of the "thump" does sound the same as mine but again, mine only happens along with sound. It happens the most with every slight spike in sound and the easiest way to describe it is that any syllable from a sentence triggers the thump.

It did suddenly begin 2 years ago, and the only change since then is it's a little bit more sensitive now.

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I found this post because I have the same exact issue and I’m going nuts. Ever find out what it is?

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@prr1117

I found this post because I have the same exact issue and I’m going nuts. Ever find out what it is?

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Hi @catidyd and @prr1117, welcome. I'm hoping members like @nrd1 @kwinckel @mdrake2020 return to share their experiences.

Have either of you discussed this with an ENT specialist?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @catidyd and @prr1117, welcome. I'm hoping members like @nrd1 @kwinckel @mdrake2020 return to share their experiences.

Have either of you discussed this with an ENT specialist?

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I have not looked into it yet. I unfortunately cannot afford to.

The problem has not went away. Overall, I try to just keep both of my ears open and I don't have an issue. With some frequencies (like telephone sounding sounds), it happens slightly when both ears are uncovered, but it's rare.

I plan to get it looked at one day if my financial situation gets resolved. Luckily it hasn't gotten worse as far as I can tell though. It's just very annoying when it does happen.

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I have is as well and it occurs in my left ear. Typically I notice it the most in the evening, when I’m sitting in my chair and watching television. My chair is situated in a way that positions my right ear closest to the television and my left ear away and this is when I experience it, when my left ear is away from the sound being emitted.

But as with everyone else experiencing this it occurs on the beat of the sounds. It’s not associated with my pulse as the thump occurs when the sound occurs.

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Since half a year ago I have had a strange thing happen where a random thump will happen at random times in my ear. It is usually only one, but sometimes more happen. It usually happens after a shower, but it can also happen randomly throughout the day, and some days it doesn’t happen at all. I think it might be tinnitus because I also have a ringing in both ears sometimes, but I’m not sure.

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@mynamefred10

Since half a year ago I have had a strange thing happen where a random thump will happen at random times in my ear. It is usually only one, but sometimes more happen. It usually happens after a shower, but it can also happen randomly throughout the day, and some days it doesn’t happen at all. I think it might be tinnitus because I also have a ringing in both ears sometimes, but I’m not sure.

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Hi @mynamefred10, thumping in one ear is a topic often discussed. You'll noticed that I moved your question about a random thump at random times to this existing discussion so you can connect with @mickyc @mdrake2020 @prr1117 @catidyd @marsh26 and others. Click the link below to read their stories.
– Thumping in right ear, only triggered by sound https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/thumping-in-right-ear-only-triggered-by-sound/

You may also be interested in these related discussions:
– Thumping/drumming in one ear https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/thumpingdrumming-in-right-ear/
– rapid thumping sound in left ear: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/rapid-thumping-sound-in-left-ear/
– Pulsatile tinnitus https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/pulsatile-tinnitus-1mynamefred10

Fred, have you been to see an ENT specialist?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @mynamefred10, thumping in one ear is a topic often discussed. You'll noticed that I moved your question about a random thump at random times to this existing discussion so you can connect with @mickyc @mdrake2020 @prr1117 @catidyd @marsh26 and others. Click the link below to read their stories.
– Thumping in right ear, only triggered by sound https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/thumping-in-right-ear-only-triggered-by-sound/

You may also be interested in these related discussions:
– Thumping/drumming in one ear https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/thumpingdrumming-in-right-ear/
– rapid thumping sound in left ear: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/rapid-thumping-sound-in-left-ear/
– Pulsatile tinnitus https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/pulsatile-tinnitus-1mynamefred10

Fred, have you been to see an ENT specialist?

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Yes, one time in October of last year. It was around two months after it started, and I also felt something in my ear. The doctor said that my ears were perfectly normal except for some fluid in my left ear, and that the fluid would go away in around nine weeks. The feeling that something was in there went away, but the thumping didn’t.

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@mynamefred10

Yes, one time in October of last year. It was around two months after it started, and I also felt something in my ear. The doctor said that my ears were perfectly normal except for some fluid in my left ear, and that the fluid would go away in around nine weeks. The feeling that something was in there went away, but the thumping didn’t.

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It sounds like it might be time for a follow-up visit.

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I’ve had the same thing going on for at least 6 years, but my thumping happens in the opposite ear that the noise is on. So if I have my left ear facing the tv, a speaker, or there’s a person talking on my left side, I feel the syllables in my right ear. It’s worse at some times than others. Hearing has been determined to be normal, and now I’m working with an ENT. Next step is a CT scan.

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