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.


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?


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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