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.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) group.

I have this exact same thing have had it for about 5 years.

REPLY
@xoiexoie

I have this exact same thing have had it for about 5 years.

Jump to this post

Welcome @xoiexoie, I'm not sure if you have seen the post by @colleenyoung earlier in this discussion here – https://connect.mayoclinic.org/comment/289648/.

Have you seen an ENT about your symptoms?

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

I have had this same exact issue and it's so hard to find any information on it! Your post is the only thing I've seen that describes my experience. It's not my heart, it's only with "pops" of noise (like on syllables, as you've described) and oddly – it seems to be mostly affected when the sound is coming from my phone, specifically. I could be playing a podcast or listening to music from the phone without earphones and I get the thumping in my left ear. It's extremely annoying as I hate having my earphones in all the time but i enjoy listening to podcasts when I am doing things around the house. Did you ever discover what the phenomenon was?

REPLY

You might consider changing your reflux medication. I used to take ranitidine but after awhile it stopped working. Then I switched to Nexium and later to Prevacid. The latter is the best for me. Also try raising the head of your bed by putting a couple of bricks under the frame. It’s important that your upper body be raised, not just your head. This is to help with reflux, not the thumping in your ear.

I also had the thumping especially when a lower pitched voice was speaking and especially when several syllables were involved. Not positive the cause but pretty sure it had to do with a blockage caused by an ear infection not reflux. Wish I could provide you with more clues but the ear is not the easiest thing to,decipher. I have several auditory problems like tinnitus for one where there is no answer to date.

REPLY

Hi! I just read the original post, and this is the first time that I've heard of anyone else experiencing the thumping that I experience. My right ear thumping is caused by certain sounds, but for me, it can happen when the ear is completely open, covered, or even stopped up. It's only when I close my left ear that the thumping stops. I've been to a couple ENTs, and we haven't figured anything out yet. I don't have any hearing loss.

This has been happening to me for my entire life. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this.

REPLY

Hi. I've been experiencing a thumping sound and the feeling of almost a pulsing sensation in my right ear. This has been going on for years. Maybe 10 years or so. The thumping and the pulsing sensation only occurs when I'm hearing mid and low range sounds – most commonly someone speaking. The thumping is in time with the speaker's words. If I cover my left ear, the thumping stops. The sensation doesn't occur when listening to music or when hearing voices in higher ranges.

I've gone to two ENTs and several audiologists about the problem and none of them have an answer. The ENTs both sort of shrugged it off. and dismissed the problem. I don't have any hearing loss and have had no injuries to speak of in recent years.

I do not beliebe this is pulsatile tinnitus as I'm not hearing my pulse or heartbeat in my ears and there's no "whooshing" sound as I've heard pulsatile tinnitus described.

Has anyone else had this problem? Has a doctor been able to diagnose it? Has anyone found a remedy for the problem? I'm sure I'm not alone, but I can't seem to find much online about this strange issue.

REPLY
@joshk72

Hi. I've been experiencing a thumping sound and the feeling of almost a pulsing sensation in my right ear. This has been going on for years. Maybe 10 years or so. The thumping and the pulsing sensation only occurs when I'm hearing mid and low range sounds – most commonly someone speaking. The thumping is in time with the speaker's words. If I cover my left ear, the thumping stops. The sensation doesn't occur when listening to music or when hearing voices in higher ranges.

I've gone to two ENTs and several audiologists about the problem and none of them have an answer. The ENTs both sort of shrugged it off. and dismissed the problem. I don't have any hearing loss and have had no injuries to speak of in recent years.

I do not beliebe this is pulsatile tinnitus as I'm not hearing my pulse or heartbeat in my ears and there's no "whooshing" sound as I've heard pulsatile tinnitus described.

Has anyone else had this problem? Has a doctor been able to diagnose it? Has anyone found a remedy for the problem? I'm sure I'm not alone, but I can't seem to find much online about this strange issue.

Jump to this post

Hi @joshk72 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Because you posted about thumping in your right ear, I have moved your post to this discussion:
Thumping in right ear, only triggered by sound: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/thumping-in-right-ear-only-triggered-by-sound/

I did this so you could meet people like @unknownearthump, @willows, @nickles, @xoiexoie and more.

Have you had anything like ear washings or wax removal? Have you had your magnesium level checked?

REPLY

Hello, I’m new to this forum. I’m dealing with TTTS right now. I have constant headaches, flutters, thumping, earaches, body spams and jolts, etc etc symptoms go on and on this has caused me so much anxiety and depression. It all started 6 months ago. Now sure why but may have been my child screaming in my ear or the covid vaccine. I have two toddlers and it’s so difficult for me to function on a daily basis and be okay for them. Feeling like a horrible mother right because I’m not okay. I’ve been to 4 specialists and they do nothing. “You have to get used to it” they say. Reading that people have been dealing with this for years makes me even more depressed as makes me think I may never be the same again. Please help!!!! I want it I go away. I cry myself to sleep every single day. if anyone recovered please please share. I need some hope right now

REPLY
@prr1117

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

Jump to this post

Please share if you healed? I’m 6 months in and it’s been a horrible experience for me leading to depression and severe anxiety. Any words of hope would be greatly appreciated. 😔

REPLY
@joshk72

Hi. I've been experiencing a thumping sound and the feeling of almost a pulsing sensation in my right ear. This has been going on for years. Maybe 10 years or so. The thumping and the pulsing sensation only occurs when I'm hearing mid and low range sounds – most commonly someone speaking. The thumping is in time with the speaker's words. If I cover my left ear, the thumping stops. The sensation doesn't occur when listening to music or when hearing voices in higher ranges.

I've gone to two ENTs and several audiologists about the problem and none of them have an answer. The ENTs both sort of shrugged it off. and dismissed the problem. I don't have any hearing loss and have had no injuries to speak of in recent years.

I do not beliebe this is pulsatile tinnitus as I'm not hearing my pulse or heartbeat in my ears and there's no "whooshing" sound as I've heard pulsatile tinnitus described.

Has anyone else had this problem? Has a doctor been able to diagnose it? Has anyone found a remedy for the problem? I'm sure I'm not alone, but I can't seem to find much online about this strange issue.

Jump to this post

It’s Middle Ear Myoclonus- Tensor Timpani Syndrome, a rare form of Tinitus. I’m
Dealing with this now and it’s horrible for me. How are you doing now?

REPLY

I came across this years-old thread while Googling this weird symptom! I wonder if maybe we're all suffering from something that does not yet have a name. Or maybe it's exceedingly rare and hard to find information about it. From the descriptions I've read, it's definitely NOT pulsatile tinnitus, and it's NOT Tensor Tympani Syndrome. And the problem with Googling this weird symptom is that almost all the results send me to a page about pulsatile tinnitus, which this is definitely NOT!

I experience this in a way similar to what a few other people have mentioned – it only occurs when hearing certain sounds. For me, it is a very low-frequency sound.

In fact, there is one trigger that ALWAYS causes this, and it's very interesting. We have window air conditioners in our home, and when I'm working in my office and the compressor of the air conditioner in the room NEXT to the one I'm in goes on, I get that thumping in my left ear. It is not rhythmic, it doesn't match my heartbeat. As you probably know, walls can muffle a lot of sound, but the very low frequencies can pass right through without much attenuation. So I am sure that that air conditioner has a very low frequency – maybe even inaudible – sound that is just the right frequency range to trigger this thumping in my left ear. It is so strange. I can barely hear that air conditioner, but I can hear it enough to know when it turns on and off.

I also have noticed this thump when hearing low-frequency musical content on headphones. But that is a little unpredictable and doesn't happen often. But it is 100% reproducible with that air conditioner in the next room.

The thumping is kind of unpleasant. It's not really a sound – more like a pulse pushing against my eardrum. There is no "whoosh". The thumps repeat maybe 4-6 times per second, but they are not at equal intervals. I suspect the thumping pattern might be in the source sound, but the source sound is too low frequency for me to hear.

Based on what I'm reading from some of you, I also suspect that when these low frequencies are heard with other high-frequency content, the high frequencies mask this effect, and prevents it from happening or being perceived. It's only when the low frequencies are isolated that you experience this. For example, if a sound source is on your left side, your right ear will hear the sound after it has passed through your head (unless it bounces off nearby walls). Your head does filter out a lot of high-frequency content. So your right ear will get only low frequencies, and maybe this is when you get the feeling in your right ear despite the sound source being on your left.

I'm guessing that it is probably not anything serious. Just an annoyance. I'm sorry to read from others that your version of it seems to be something much harder to live with!

REPLY

I am so happy that I found this thread. Because when I was trying to search for something like this previously, I was not successful as it is not easy to describe what you are experiencing. I only found one guy on reddit with partly same issue. So it's really relieving to know there are more people who have such issue.
But it's really sad at the same time because nobody have shared any cure to it yet.

My situation:
My right eardrum pulsates/thumps/twitches whatever you call it. It started about 3 years ago.
Mostly it happens when men speak, despite whether through remote audio call through speakers/headphones or in reality when they are somewhere near me. A few times it happened with women voices as well. But to sum up – my ear reacts to low frequency voices.

Right eardrum stops pulsating when I cover the left ear completely with something (e.g. with a hand).

When I watch news on television where men speak I need to lower the sound of the tv to the absolute minimum to get rid of that annoying pulsation/flickering/tingling. I consulted with a few otorhinolaryngologists already, some tests were made, nothing was found. I was said just to live with it.

And I cannot. I am starting to hate those people from whom I get the annoying pulsation to have around me.
It would be really nice to find an answer and the cure to it.
The MRT scan of the head was done a year ago, not because of the ear, but I guess if something would look unusual – they would have noticed it..

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment