| | Help! Does anyone have this popping or clicking sound?
Very frustrating problem for over 2 years!
I am posting this info on behalf of my wife. Any information on next steps or guidance would be appreciated. She’s been to various doctors and top ENTs in the city and just can’t get a resolution, or even definitive diagnosis since the specialists have not encountered this before! Knowing if there are others out there with the same issues and suggestions would be helpful and most welcomed.
Please let me know you are able to help me. My problem is a very bothersome popping or clicking sound near my ears on both sides - audible by myself as well as others. This appears to have started with an airplane flight in the past so my other concern is to confirm whether I can ever fly again.
My history started with tinnitus in my left ear during a severe cold about 2 years ago. It is very variable in pitch and volume. About 6 months later I had a mild cold and developed a milder case of tinnitus in the other ear. At various points in time, I did have some uncomfortable balance unsteadiness for several weeks at a time for over a year but has not recurred for more than a year.
Upon returning from a flight from the west coast about 2 months after the tinnitus began, one of my ears began popping about 40 times per minute (variable rates) for about 6 months. The second ear began to pop about 3 months after the milder cold. This was on land during my daily life. It began with a few pops and steadily increased over a few weeks, and continues to this very day.
After flying out again to the west coast, the popping became extremely elevated. At times 90 times per minute in the original ear, less in the other ear. This continued and off for about 10 months. Warm baths and scrunching my face sometimes stopped this popping. Movement in my neck and audible sounds could be heard by others around me. Heat over my TMJ area or at the back of my neck also helped but not fully.
Current symptoms: there are two types of popping or clicking:
(1) Original Problem: When throat muscles are tightened, upon this activation there is a clicking that I believe is in the TMJ area. The rhythm, pitch are variable. Sometimes single clicks, sometimes several in quick succession. Sometimes only one side clicks and the other side is quiet and vice versa. Other times they both click. I do feel that the osteopathic treatments that I have had over the past year and a half have made this popping much harder to bring on. In fact, it will only occur upon activation, not on an involuntary basis.
(2) New Popping: Dec 2007. Had a sore throat and cough and cold, and lost my voice temporarily. Towards the end of this illness, I noticed when I swallowed that there was a new type of popping in my left TMJ area. All doctors here in Toronto told me it would go away. But it has not. In March 2008, another bad cold and a similar popping as December 2007 but on the left side. It is more like saran wrap crinkling and also variable in rhythm but, not as loud nor as many noises per pop as the other side.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
I am asking for your help so I can resolve the popping problem. I am avoiding air travel since I do not know if it is safe to do so, or whether it will aggravate the situation.
Medical Tests and Other Background:
Below is a list of various tests of I had over the past two years.
Various Audiology Tests - Nov 2005 to Aug 2007 (mild to moderate hearing loss)
Electromyography (EMG) Test Result – March, 2007 (normal; Needle EMG: "the 'popping' noise appeared to correspond with contraction of mainly of the anterior digastric muscle"). "No evidence of palatal myoclonus or myokymia."
Neurologist - Dec 2007: "it is a complex motor tic; muscle contractions are setting up the noise; stress is a factor; affected muscles are in the same area as the Eustachian tube"
ENG Test - April 2006 (normal)
MRI Test – July 2006 (normal, except "there is some mucosal thickening within the left ethmodal air cells")
CT Scan – Feb 2006 (normal)
A dentist (TMJ specialist) in my city believes I have borderline TMJD and I am currently wearing a biteplate (separate daytime and nighttime appliances) for the past 9 months with limited if any success.