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Old 11-03-2011, 04:57 PM   #1
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Question Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

I have an interesting but annoying phenomenon happening in my left ear. This started roughly 2 years ago and comes and goes. This only happens at night when I am laying down trying to sleep. If I lay on my left side with my left ear against the pillow, I start to hear this muted thumping noise and it feels like something is physically moving inside my left ear like a twitch. Here is the interesting part; this sound is triggered by sounds my right ear is hearing! If there is a sound in the room such as a tv playing at low volume, or the rhythmic clicking a ceiling fan will sometimes make, the sound in the left ear is triggered to make the the strange noise even though no sound could be entering the left ear because it is firmly against the pillow! I have verified this by sticking my finger in my right ear when the phenomenon is present, and the sound and feeling in the left ear immediately stops! It has something to do with position because I have experimented with slowly rolling to the right as the sound is occurring and it stops after about 20 degrees of rotation. I roll from side to side probably every five minutes as I am trying to go to sleep. When I am on my left side, this noise becomes quite distracting and I can't sleep. I have taken steps to remove all noises from my bedroom when I am trying to sleep but there are always some and they always trigger the noise. The strange noise only lasts as long as the sound that is being heard by the right ear. If I lay on my right side, there is no similar effect on the right ear. I also feel as if my hearing is diminishing in my left ear and it feels kind of "clogged" most of the time. My mother has been diagnosed with Meniers disease.

Has anyone ever heard of something like this? It is kind of starting to get to me!

Thanks!

 
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:00 AM   #2
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Re: Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

Sounds like a form of middle ear myoclonus. I have this, also noise-triggered, but the noise affects the same ear with the myoclonus for me. It's basically a muscle spasm, much like an eyelid twitch. Mine is the result, it's believed, from a series of ear infections that have kind of screwed up my right middle ear. It's said that most problems with myoclonus will burn themselves out with time, but there are muscle relaxants an ENT will be able to prescribe you that might help get over the hurdle (or just avoid the position/situation that creates the problem). I find mine happens less and less frequently, but always just when I think it's gone for good, I get a few annoying taps to remind me it's still there, potentially ready to flare up.

 
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:38 AM   #3
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Re: Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

I have a very similar thing going on with my left ear (for about six months now). Certain sounds (birds, crickets or tinny sounding radio or TV) will cause the fluttering or muted thumping you describe. Mine can be triggered any time of the day. Just like you, my RIGHT ear must hear the sound for the spasm to occur (plug the right ear and it won't happen). And just like you it lasts only as long as the stimulating sound. I have also concluded it is some form of stapedial myclonus. Initial visit to doc showed a little high freq hearing loss in that ear but not much. He thought it could be due to TMJ, but I have no jaw pain or other symptoms.

 
Old 03-02-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonloal View Post
I have a very similar thing going on with my left ear (for about six months now). Certain sounds (birds, crickets or tinny sounding radio or TV) will cause the fluttering or muted thumping you describe. Mine can be triggered any time of the day. Just like you, my RIGHT ear must hear the sound for the spasm to occur (plug the right ear and it won't happen). And just like you it lasts only as long as the stimulating sound. I have also concluded it is some form of stapedial myclonus. Initial visit to doc showed a little high freq hearing loss in that ear but not much. He thought it could be due to TMJ, but I have no jaw pain or other symptoms.
Very much sounds like mine. I last posted in November to this thread. Since then, I remained mostly in remission until about the last month. This past month, I've had several "attacks" or bad days of spasms. I go to a once-weekly social event with lots of discussion. Last time I went, the sound of everyone's voices was driving my ear crazy with twitching and thumping. It made me go home and start seriously considering the surgery where they section the tendons in that ear.

I also notice it lately when I'm reading books at night to my children; their voices cause the thumping. And listening to talk radio is the worst trigger of all. Which really sucks, because that's one of the ways I stay connected to the world when working from home.

And recently, for the first time, I have had a few thumps in the left ear. Argh. Those seem more random, not triggered by a certain noise that I can discern. And they feel somehow...deeper in the ear, like it's a different muscle?

I also feel like somehow the low humming tinnitus I get is tied, in part, to sound stimulation. I should experiment with using an earplug in the tinnitus/myo ear for a day, to see if blocking out sound will also keep the tinnitus away. Not that I can spend my life with an earplug in.

Do you have tinnitus and myoclonus, or just the myo?

 
Old 03-02-2012, 12:47 PM   #5
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Re: Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

I got the myoclonus effect first, then shortly after developed a high pitched tinnitus in the same left ear (low enough volume that I can mostly ignore it. I have always been able to equalize the pressure in my ears by moving my jaw and palate muscles in some weird way. Once the myoclonus started, I found myself chronically doing this muscle movement (in hopes of stopping the spasm I guess). I wonder whether this has led to the mild tinnitus since chronically moving the muscles may simulate a TMJ problem. I think this has led to some general sensitive hearing as well and a feeling of fullness.

My spasms seem to occur with sounds that have "sharp" edges like chirps or the "edge" of someone's voice. If I am listening to talk radio or talk on TV it helps a good bit to boost the bass and cut the treble. I have a good audio equalizer on my TV sound system where I could selectively cutout frequencies. If I cutout everything below about 2000Hz it will stop triggering the spasm.

I haven't tried prescription muscle relaxers as I really don't want to go that route but I might try natural muscle relaxers like vervain or chamomile to see if I get any improvement.

 
Old 03-03-2012, 10:58 AM   #6
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Re: Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonloal View Post
I got the myoclonus effect first, then shortly after developed a high pitched tinnitus in the same left ear (low enough volume that I can mostly ignore it. I have always been able to equalize the pressure in my ears by moving my jaw and palate muscles in some weird way. Once the myoclonus started, I found myself chronically doing this muscle movement (in hopes of stopping the spasm I guess). I wonder whether this has led to the mild tinnitus since chronically moving the muscles may simulate a TMJ problem. I think this has led to some general sensitive hearing as well and a feeling of fullness.

My spasms seem to occur with sounds that have "sharp" edges like chirps or the "edge" of someone's voice. If I am listening to talk radio or talk on TV it helps a good bit to boost the bass and cut the treble. I have a good audio equalizer on my TV sound system where I could selectively cutout frequencies. If I cutout everything below about 2000Hz it will stop triggering the spasm.

I haven't tried prescription muscle relaxers as I really don't want to go that route but I might try natural muscle relaxers like vervain or chamomile to see if I get any improvement.
Curiouser and curiouser. I know that exact muscle movement you are talking about in your palate that equalizes pressure, because I can do it, too. I also do it chronically, especially since I struggle with eustachian tube dysfunction and ears that want to plug intermittently. I try to break myself of the almost OCD (at times) habit, because I will end up with the entire jaw area feeling tense and sore. It's rare to have this "voluntary tubal control," and kind of a blessing mixed with a curse.

That's a good idea about adjusting the frequencies to see if it will control the spasms. My spasms go crazy when I listen to talk radio streamed over my computer, though not through my car speakers. Never thought about it, but it's probably the tinny Macintosh speakers vs. a more enriched sound environment. Interesting!

Also, women's voices or higher-pitched voices tend to set it off more easily than men's. Which doesn't exactly make "lunch with the girls" that fun, these days.

 
Old 05-05-2012, 05:38 PM   #7
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Re: Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

Tinny MacBook speakers! The exact and only cause of my ear thumping.
I am amazed to find more people with the same problem, and that there is medical information about it. I should have known better, but I just thought it was something weird about me until I finally googled it, out of curiosity.

It seems I am lucky to only have it affect my ability to enjoy music from my laptop and not my life in general. The cutting out certain frequencies is interesting. I'll try if I can narrow down the actual frequency that is causing it.

Good luck to the more affected!

 
Old 06-10-2012, 11:06 PM   #8
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Re: Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

I have had a ringing in my ears since late 2007. Yes, going on 5 years. I would see a doctor about it but it's not killing me and I simply do not have the money to do so. I don't notice it all the time, mostly when it is quiet but I have checked to see if it is there in noisy situations and it is still there. It has been there constantly for nearly 5 years. Even longer than that, probably in late 2005 or early 2006 I have had a twitching in both ears when it is quiet. Generally watching tv or being on a computer with some sort of noise it does not happen. As soon as it gets really quiet, especially when I am going to sleep my ears go to twitching just as others have described here. I have tried to feel for it with my finger but I can't actually feel anything twitch except for feeling it twitch inside my ear. Mine is not other ear dependent as described here. When I lay on my side the ear facing down does not twitch. Mine is kind of opposit though as a constant noise in the background helps. What also helps is having something over my ear such as a pillow. Which means I have to increase the sound noise to penetrate the pillow but that helps out optimially. I guess it could be small sounds in the room and the fan is drowning out those sounds.

 
Old 06-11-2012, 12:15 AM   #9
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Re: Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

I have had problems with my ears for about 6 months. My left ear is a constant pulse sound and I get a throbbing noise in my right ear when I hear a high pitch noise such as some songs, kids screaming etc.

When I first went to my GP I was put on anitbiotics as he said it was probably a infection. When that didn't work I had a blood test. That came back all ok just my vitamin d was low so i now take vitamins. GP then sent me to a ENT. He looked in my ears, did a hearing test and pressure test. All came back ok. ENT suggested it may be sinus related so prescribed me Avamys nasal spray. As I still have the ear problem I now have to have a MRI in a couple of weeks. So unfortunately it is a lot of testing to try and get to the problem.

 
Old 06-17-2012, 08:00 PM   #10
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Re: Muted thumping noise in left ear triggered by sound in right ear!

I'm grateful to find this thread. I am having the same problem but it usually manifests when I have a telephone earpiece held to my right ear. Whenever the person on the other end of the line says something, I hear an annoying vibration sound that coincides with the peaks of the soundwave in my left ear. So annoying and uncomfortable!

Hopefully some of y'all can get to the bottom of what is causing this, which would help all of us.

 
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