Thumping/drumming in one ear

Posted by kerryf88 @kerryf88, Mar 15, 2019

It started about a week ago, I was walking my dog and suddenly I hear this rapid drumming sound in my right ear, twice, it doesn’t match my heartbeat at all, the second time it happened I covered my right ear with a finger and it’s gone. And since then I’ve been having occasional rapid thumps (3-4 thumps) in the right ear, maybe once or twice a day or sometimes none in a day, no common trigger, just happens randomly during the day. I don’t know why? When the thumping happens it feels like that ear is partially blocked like under water.

I’m currently experiencing slight dizziness due to bad postures from a few weeks ago, which leads to sore neck and shoulder, not sure if this could be related?

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

@chrisgg

I get an irregular pulsating sound in my right ear, which does not match my heart rate at all. It does vanish if I put a finger or the palm of my hand over the ear, but difficult to do that for very long. It starts gently but seems to get gradually quicker. I've noticed that it comes on after starting to drink a glass of wine. A glass of beer does not have any effect. Very strange.

Jump to this post

Not able to offer solutions but can offer quite a bit of sympathy! I have had pulsating noise in right ear for a few years now and saw Ent Dr. with no solutions. There is a web site I have found helpful in the past, Woosh. either com or org. not sure which. I never know when the pulsing will start or end. Trying to learn to ignore it. Not an easy feat.
Good Luck with you situation I hope you can find a way to end the problem.

REPLY
@morninglory

Not able to offer solutions but can offer quite a bit of sympathy! I have had pulsating noise in right ear for a few years now and saw Ent Dr. with no solutions. There is a web site I have found helpful in the past, Woosh. either com or org. not sure which. I never know when the pulsing will start or end. Trying to learn to ignore it. Not an easy feat.
Good Luck with you situation I hope you can find a way to end the problem.

Jump to this post

“tying to learn to ignore it” is a Sisyphean task: too hard to do and will only create frustration.
I’ve had pulsatile tinnitus for many years. It’s a whooshing sound synchronous with one’s heart. Whooshers.com helped rule out medical and/or fixable problems.…also used CBT and even found a use for pulsatile tinnitus:
to monitor heart rate when exercising….didn’t think I could live with it; now it’s like breathing – something I barely notice most of the time.

REPLY

Your problem really sounds like my tinnitus. Tinnitus can have various types of sounds interchangeably. I have drumming, cricket sounds, blocked ear feeling, roaring, bees, achy ear feeling, and it can change from one to the other during a day or night. Mine gets worse if I work with a bent over posture and there is only so much I can do in a day without it getting worse. Exercise can exacerbate it as well. Does any of this sound similar to your problem? If so you should join the American Tinnitus Association for really up to date Information on this condition. I like to use nature sounds like rain, stream, wind to mask some of the tinnitus and it helps.

REPLY
@mslw

“tying to learn to ignore it” is a Sisyphean task: too hard to do and will only create frustration.
I’ve had pulsatile tinnitus for many years. It’s a whooshing sound synchronous with one’s heart. Whooshers.com helped rule out medical and/or fixable problems.…also used CBT and even found a use for pulsatile tinnitus:
to monitor heart rate when exercising….didn’t think I could live with it; now it’s like breathing – something I barely notice most of the time.

Jump to this post

have tested it several times and it does not match my heartbeat. When it eventually slows as crazy as it sounds, if I turn on one particular vacuum cleaner, the wooshing stops!!!!!!!! Go figure!! It must have something to do with sound frequency range. Whatever works.

REPLY
@morninglory

Not able to offer solutions but can offer quite a bit of sympathy! I have had pulsating noise in right ear for a few years now and saw Ent Dr. with no solutions. There is a web site I have found helpful in the past, Woosh. either com or org. not sure which. I never know when the pulsing will start or end. Trying to learn to ignore it. Not an easy feat.
Good Luck with you situation I hope you can find a way to end the problem.

Jump to this post

Thanks for reply and sympathy, morninglory. Fortunately, it's not a big problem for me at the moment. The tapping in my right ear happens only occasionally. I've never had it while trying to sleep. It started up again over Christmas while staying with family, after months with no problem, when I was drinking a glass of wine before a meal. It must have lasted an hour or two, getting gradually quicker. It sounded like the irregular rhythm of a rapidly typed Morse code, with starts and stops and quicker and slower bits; nothing like my heart rate. A few days later, after returning home, I began drinking a glass of wine before a meal and it started up again, lasting about an hour. The last two evenings I've had no wine and no tapping in my ear! I have had a glass or two of beer with no problem. Since the wine (12%) is 3x stronger than the beer (4%), it could be that the alcohol absorbed into the blood is expanding the capillaries in my ear, causing a change in blood flow. I'll keep observing what brings it on. Probably better not to drink before a meal. Many thanks for your interest and hoping your problem resolves itself soon.

REPLY

Hello,

For the past few years I've been having very rapid (approx 3-4 thumps per second) thumping in my left ear. This only happens when I'm standing over the sink washing dishes with the water running. The closer I put my head to the water, the stronger the thumps get. It feel like a vacuum effect being created by the water? I have asked 2 doctors about this and neither of them had any experience with anything like this.

Thanks for the help!

REPLY
@beyondconfused

Hello,

For the past few years I've been having very rapid (approx 3-4 thumps per second) thumping in my left ear. This only happens when I'm standing over the sink washing dishes with the water running. The closer I put my head to the water, the stronger the thumps get. It feel like a vacuum effect being created by the water? I have asked 2 doctors about this and neither of them had any experience with anything like this.

Thanks for the help!

Jump to this post

@beyondconfused, I would like to welcome you to Connect.

Many members have discussed pulsatile tinnitus and I have it from time to time where I can hear my heart beat in my ear. I think for me it happens more often when I have sinus congestion that seems to conduct the sound. I actually don't mind because I pay attention to how fast my heart is beating because of allergy and asthma breathing issues. If I have too much congestion in my lungs, my heart rate goes up which is sometimes a clue that there is too much trapped phlegm that can become an infection, and I can take action to clear it.

Your blood pressure will change and adjust as you change your body position, and perhaps that may be why you notice a change in the loudness of the thumping. Perhaps having your hands in hot water also affects blood pressure or heart rate. If you ask your doctors about how blood pressure or heart rate affects pulsatile tinnitus, you may get an answer.

This discussion may be of interest with other members discussing pulsatile tinnitus.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/pulsatile-tinnitus-1/
Does this give you an idea of how you might ask more targeted questions of your doctors?

REPLY
@jenniferhunter

@beyondconfused, I would like to welcome you to Connect.

Many members have discussed pulsatile tinnitus and I have it from time to time where I can hear my heart beat in my ear. I think for me it happens more often when I have sinus congestion that seems to conduct the sound. I actually don't mind because I pay attention to how fast my heart is beating because of allergy and asthma breathing issues. If I have too much congestion in my lungs, my heart rate goes up which is sometimes a clue that there is too much trapped phlegm that can become an infection, and I can take action to clear it.

Your blood pressure will change and adjust as you change your body position, and perhaps that may be why you notice a change in the loudness of the thumping. Perhaps having your hands in hot water also affects blood pressure or heart rate. If you ask your doctors about how blood pressure or heart rate affects pulsatile tinnitus, you may get an answer.

This discussion may be of interest with other members discussing pulsatile tinnitus.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/pulsatile-tinnitus-1/
Does this give you an idea of how you might ask more targeted questions of your doctors?

Jump to this post

Thank you for the informative link, and for introducing me to pulsatile tinnitus, however this thumping does not follow my heartbeat, and I don't have clogged sinuses, congestion, or any excess phlegm. I'm going to try to provide more details of what is going on… I have always been able to feel my heartbeat in my chest and back, I've heard some people cannot, but I have for awhile. The ear thumping occurs at what I would estimate at 160-200 BPM. While at the sink, hot or cold water doesn't seem to effect the frequency of the thumping. I don't need my hands in the water to hear and feel the rapid thumps, but having my hands in the water causes the thumps to occur more rapidly and with more strength. Also as far back as I can remember as a child, I have always had an aversion to silence. I remember naming it 'the deafening sound of silence'. Nowadays it's a bit worse. I tend to always have a mild high pitched ringing in my ears, even when it's not totally silent. It's never bad enough to give me a headache, just always there.

Thanks for the help

REPLY
@beyondconfused

Hello,

For the past few years I've been having very rapid (approx 3-4 thumps per second) thumping in my left ear. This only happens when I'm standing over the sink washing dishes with the water running. The closer I put my head to the water, the stronger the thumps get. It feel like a vacuum effect being created by the water? I have asked 2 doctors about this and neither of them had any experience with anything like this.

Thanks for the help!

Jump to this post

Hi Beyondconfused, your concern about a thumping in one ear has been discussed in a couple of 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/
– Thumping in right ear, only triggered by sound https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/thumping-in-right-ear-only-triggered-by-sound/
– Pulsatile tinnitus https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/pulsatile-tinnitus-1/

@tootie42 @variegata @nrd1 @willows may have some tips to share.

Beyondconfused, have you been to an ENT specialists about this issue?

REPLY

I recently had an audiometric test and when I asked the doc about the drumming sound, she told me that it is tinnitus.

REPLY
@variegata

Hi folks, this is an update to my condition, which has been diagnosed as Middle Ear Myoclonus — although that doesn't tell the full story. I have wended my way through four appointments, PCP and ENT specialists (audiology, ear and nose) and each provider has found everything perfectly normal. They have been sympathetic and apologetic about having no clue as to cause, much less a cure. Some were aware of the phenomenon, but it is uncommon and unstudied. For those for whom the torment is ruinous, there is a procedure to cut the tensor tympani or stapedius muscle(s) that can be causing the spasms (actually hitting the eardrum) — but it is not without risks or lasting consequences.

I have done a lot of online research and following links, and can tell you what triggers my sleep-disruptive spasms. Perhaps the below will help you in your own search for understanding if not relief.

I eventually learned either on this site as well as the MEM Facebook group that 1) the tensor tympani or stapedius muscle(s) can be spasming and thus actually hitting the eardrum, thus the thumping is known as objective tinnitus (actually happening in the ear), not subjective tinnitus (a brain signal mimicking sensation & or sound). 2) yawns and burps can trigger the spasms. This was my first a-ha discovery, as I knew that sometime full-body yawns or small burps (not belches) during the day would trigger the spasms (although the spasms were brief, unlike when lying down on my back, which is how I sleep).

I began looking for more about the yawn connection, and discovered an autonomic response called sleep pandiculation — those feet-to-head, full-body stretches we do when waking up from sleep — and sometimes during the wee hours when transitioning out of deep sleep. Just like cats and dogs, when they stretch, reposition and go back to sleep.

Et voila! Those stretches turned out to be the trigger for my MEM attacks! There is is a vibration that rises up my body in sync with the foot-to-head stretch… and when the vibe gets to my head, the spasms are triggered. Fast, hard thumping that runs in continuous "phrases" of arrhythmic thumps with a few seconds in between each "phrase". For up to two hours. (OMG) Not pulsatile, not typewriter tinnitus. A muscle actually pounding on the eardrum over and over.

So…an interesting discovery, and confirms that this is a physical phenomenon. I shared this with my ear and nose doctors. They also found it interesting, but as to why is this happening? No ideas. A few doctors speculated anxiety or other "behavioral health" issues. Sigh.

A few encouraging notes as to controlling the spasms. 1) My PCP put me on Flonase 2x/day, which seems to have dampened the severity and length of the spasms. 2) I have had some success in waking myself when the pandiculation has begun and managing to stop it before it gets to my head, which thus prevents it from triggering the spasms. But that's hit or miss, as it's not easy to rouse myself from deep sleep to stop the pandiculation from fully traveling. 3) Recently I have discovered (I sleep on my back) that once the spasming starts and wakes me (argh), I can lift my head a little and tilt my chin down until almost touching my chest — and this can often interrupt the spasming before it gets really wound up. That would suggest a nerve action is involved in the loop, but so far no doctor has been curious enough to investigate. And in all fairness, perhaps it is one of those unsolved idiopathic mysteries of my human body (lucky me).

If any of you can relate to the above, great! And let me know.

BTW, I reco you check out Eustachian tube dysfunction and ear-pressure equalization techniques (like divers do) to see if that helps your tinnitus. That was ruled out for me, but can cause the thumping for some people.

Jump to this post

It sounds just like you're in my ear, you explain my symptoms to a tee. I'm just now looking into this although I've been dealing with it for some time. It's driving me crazy lately so I went and had an ear test and I'm getting hearing aids, but now I'll dig further into this with my Dr. and see if he's familiar with this "mystery" and get back to you. Thanks for all the info.

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