Ear, Nose & Throat Community
13.3k Members
Avatar universal

Vibrating eardrum, pulsating sensation, on and off.

Hi there,
about 5 or 6 weeks ago I started getting a vibrating feeling in my right ear. I thought it would pass but it soon got to the point of real annoyance, flaring up at night and lasting til the morning where I would get up and it would go away.
I got sick of it so I went to the doctor who checked my ears and said that it did look sore in there and perhaps I had an infection so they prescribed a low dose of amoxicillin.

I took about 1/3 of the dose and stopped because the symptoms went away. I didnt like the side effects (bad stomach) so I stopped taking it since the vibrating had stopped.

The vibrating came back though after a few days, and it became a constant sense of vibrating. I was back to the doctor and he prescribed a greater dose of amoxicillin and advised me to finish it, which I did this time. Great, no symptoms for the last week.

A couple of days ago however, the symptoms started again, and yet again, only at night. I went to bed with the annoying banging and awoke to it, only for it to go away during the day.

The doctor did tell me that it would take maybe 6 weeks to clear up, and since that time period has not yet passed, should I still be experiencing those vibrations? I think it has been about 4 weeks since I last went to the doctor. Things were going ok until it flared up again; is this to be expected?
Could this issue be an anxiety issue, since everytime I think 'hey, my eardrum hasnt bothered me at all recently',
it starts flaring up again?
212 Responses
Avatar universal
Oh my gosh, I recently started having the same thing. But it starts up in the day too for me.  I know I am going through some real anxiety right now because of a court case with my ex .  It really seems to act up when my mind runs on the situation.  So this possibly could be an anxiety issue.  I am going to have my blood pressure checked thou, you should probably too.  I will check my pulse too when its not happening and check when it starts.
Avatar universal
I recently found the source of my problem.  It was a new med I was taking that had caffeine like stimulants.  You have to avoid everything food, drink, meds with caffeine like stimulants.  Try also sticking your best fitting finger in your ear and holding it there as long as possible.

When the tiny hairs and nerve endings become damaged as a result of exposure to noise, tinnitus often results.

Tinnitus that is caused from sinus problems

Sinusitis and allergy sufferers also frequently suffer from tinnitus. This  "type" is caused from blocked Eustachian tubes, which results in a pressure buildup in the inner ear.

This condition is normally caused by prolonged taking of anti-histamines and antibiotics which can cause a thickening of the mucous in the inner ear.

Excess inner ear mucous would normally simply drain out through the Eustachian tubes but is prevented from doing so because it has become too thick to drain out of the very narrow Eustachian tubes.

Tinnitus from stress or traumatic life events

Another major cause of tinnitus is a long continued exposure to stress or traumatic events such as the death of a loved one.

Thyroid dysfunction is definitely associated with tinnitus. When the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, this is a condition known as Hyperthyroidism. These additional hormones have a direct effect on most bodily organs, including the heart which beats faster and harder under the influence of thyroid hormones.

Hyperthyroidism, by increasing cardiac output, can cause a pulsatile or rushing noise.

Vitamin A and/or B12 deficiency has been described as causing tinnitus.

Other tinnitus causes :

Another cause of tinnitus is presbycusis (hearing loss that occurs as people age).

Hearing loss is the single most consistent factor in people with tinnitus. As a rule the tinnitus will occur at the same frequencies as the hearing loss.

Tinnitus from prescription drugs and over the counter medications. Caffeine, stimulants that may cause the heart to beat faster.

Many prescription medications list tinnitus as a side effect. These include anti-malarials, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and antidepressants.

Even more possible tinnitus causes

Many types of head surgery, included dental surgery such as root canal treatments also play a major role in causing tinnitus. This is normally associated with cochlear damage as a result of the noises you are exposed to during the procedure.

Heavy metal poisoning from fillings in the teeth are also a very common cause of tinnitus. This generally occurs when one is replacing old fillings.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, myfacial, neck and back pain,headaches,jaw problems, bowels of course...

THE LIST can go on but either way a lot of conditions can cause bouts of tinnitus or you can end up with tinnitus 24/7.
Avatar universal
You folks are way OFF.  

What the OP has is ideopathic stapedial muscle spasms.  I am sure you folks have experienced an eye brow twitch...?  It is the same thing, but the muschle conected to the stapedius is twitching...  nothing to go crazy over, and certainly nothing to take antibiotics for.

There is some theory that it can be an indication of MS, but just because you have the twitch does not mean you have MS..  It is much like saying if you have a caugh you have TB...   no that is not the case...  you have a cough, but we don't know for sure if you have TB.

Good luck, and stay away from quacks

AuD ccc-a
I have MS, and this happens to me quite frequently at night, and only at night, right after I close my eyes to go to sleep. The vibrations vary in intensity but always in both ears simultaneously. For the longest time, I thought it was brain itself having a spasm because it makes my whole head shake pretty violently. While it's happening, I am basically paralyzed and unable to will myself out of it. Paralysis lasts for only a few seconds but it seems like an eternity. It's a scary thing to have to go through almost every night, making me afraid to even fall asleep sometimes, but it is not life-threatening or too much of a cause for concern so that helps the anxiety. Some say it is a symptom of anxiety, but I think it's due to my MS and is a cause for anxiety, not a symptom thereof. Just my personal opinion.
Avatar universal
well I was only diagnosed a few months ago but I also have begining stages of barrets hihertle hernia severe acid reflux and had l-4 and l-5 shaved off becuase of pressure on the syatic nerve which now the scare tissue has attacched the same nerve with more dynamic results than before the back surgery any way I am only 43 yrs old and I'm falling apartI went off all nacotics and have been tylenoling it and extra sleepy time tea which seems to help some what to sleep. Well I have one thing to say to the people out there is this eagle syndrome takes the cake on top of all of that nobody really understands it or knows what it is I have found more out tonight then since they diagnosed me I thought i only had a bad ear infection But I've been having trouble swallowing for several yrs small stuff even Well to get to the point Sat. the esqrutiating pain started in my ear and throught I tryed talking to the doc after all to get the surgery scheduled but like so many of us now days my Job closed it's doors then to top it off My deductible went up 3 times fold .Tue. night I went to the Emergency after 2vicodine 10/325 to no relief at the emergency rm the gave me ashot of dilanta ? it didn't work then another of something else which only worked from 8PM to 115am to end this today which is thu. the sharp pain has subsided for now any way but still in pain The Doc asked me if I had psycological problems because I had stated If I would have been able to remove whatever this is even if it took putting a hole in my throught was very tempting Not That I would Or could but nobody seems to understand how much pain I was in the last few days and all looked at me like I was nuts so What do I do Now

Avatar universal
I might have the same problem in my left ear. After reading over the characteristics of tinnitus, I doubt that's what it is. The sound is as if someone is drumming on my ear drum. The noise is low and deep, the bouts of thumpings happen with several seconds or minutes between them and they have as much rhythm as someone tapping out morse code. Muscle spasms seems like it fits the best, the weird thing is that it happens so frequently with me, about 40% of the days in a year and those days are usually grouped together. 90% of the time it happens it's while I'm laying down (and thus, trying to go to sleep) and when it does happen I can stand or sit straight up to make the thumping go away, but once I lay down again it comes back.
This has been going on for probably more than 7 years.
Is this cause by muscle spasms? Is this curable? Is there a way to at least make the thumping stop temporarily?
Please help Jon and me, it's costing me sleep! I'm almost willing to puncture my ear drum to make this stop.
Avatar universal
hei scud422,
i went thru the same problem that you have...thanx to God that it was only for one night.what you have is muscle spam for real,i visited an emergenc doc. and he did some series of physical test like checking my eardrum,closing my right ear with his hand and saying some word,just to make sure that my left ear is ok,and at last pressing two spots between my neck and shoulder and he asked me if i felt some pains which i acknowledged and that is the main cause of this motorised noise that denied my sleep for one night.the doc. prescribed ibuprofane and asked me to soft massage between my shoulder and the my ear,also i used warm water and a piece of cloth to keep my neck warm.i went home did all of that and the hum..hum noise was totally gone.i hope this would help
Avatar universal
I literally just had the thumping noise in my ear. Me being a google freak for everything because I hate doctors offices, I stumbled along this page luckily. It calmed me down a lot. I have a history of muscle spasms in my back, don't know if that has anything to deal with it. But, on the other hand... my shoulders are real tense dealing with a previous move and finding jobs in the area. The thumping only lasted about 20 seconds but it did shake me up a bit. Everyones stories have helped! If the condition worsens though should I visit a doctor?
Avatar universal
Gads, nice to know I'm not losing my mind.  I have this too.   It happens mostly in my left ear, but occasionally in my right too, and it happens on and off throughout the day.   I'm going to try to make mental notes of how often starts up, but it seems to be it's dozens of times a day...at least in my left ear.  
1033121 tn?1270191046
I too have this...

for about 2 years it was just a very low hum in RIGHT EAR and just random (but at nights when lying down trying to sleep) - i put up with it as wasnt too bad but now its got much worse (louder and every night) and there is also a ringing (like pressure build up when blood rushes to your head - that sort of noise you hear when you pass out) but that ringing is VERY low but possibly because the hum is overpowering it, I can hear the ring when I put my head under water in the bath, i noticed once when i took ibuprofen the humming went away, so i took more but after few days it stopped working - anyway, I went to one Dr and he said "tinnitus , nothing can be done" , i went to another who said "its not tinnitus cos its in one ear" but was still at a loss and he referred me to ENT (which is 6 weeks time) - recently i got a cold, I never get colds and this one lasted over 10 days - during the outset of this cold the humming started to go over to left ear!! and louder!! - oh I was driven mad with it trying to sleep , anyway ive just been to ANOTHER Dr few days back, he had a look and said there was a little fluid on the left ear and that's probably from the 'cold' and so wont prescribe antibiotics ... he gave me 7 x 20mg Temazepam to help me sleep for a few nights - I took the tablets and guess what... the humming went away... before sleep and after sleep... ive ran out of Temazepam and guess what? the humming is back... strange?

Along with that I also have sinus problem where i can hear my breathing in my ears if i breath through my nose - more in the right one (mostly affected one)

Iam also on Methadone which could possibly be cause but never had it for 4 of the 6 years ive been on it so probs not!

thanks to the OP for posting those possible causes etc as I now think it may be allergy, Iam taking a LOT of herbal supplements for my Liver Disease and I think it may be related and the ringing is like a 'pressure build up' sort of noise - the humming must also be part of it, so Im gunna stop all my supplements which include Milk Thistle, Multi-Vitamins, Cod-Liver Oil, Dandelion , Artichoke and Herbal Teas (although most of those have just started recently) if any I think it be Milk Thistle as thats the ONLY one ive been constantly taking, Milk Thistle is more likely the culprit if it were to be any of those...

I will let you know how I get on
Avatar universal
I think I'm going to try a daily regimen of decongestants just to see if that helps.   I've developed some sinus issues in my "old age," and coincidentally or not, that's when this vibrating started.
I have the same problem that occurs maybe twice every two months , and it I only notice it wen I'm making a phone call and the phone is ringing . Why is that?!
1033121 tn?1270191046
good idea... i think i might add that too, I also have 4 different types of anti-histamines from when i had itching on treatment (which also treat allergies) im wondering if its worth trying one of those... i think one step at a time... i will give a week to 10 days without supplements/herbal tea's and see if it stops or gets better... if not I may add decongestant like you say cos i can hear my breathing in ears when breathing through nose...so definite sinus issue

roll on 6 weeks time when i go to ENT
Avatar universal
Have a similar problem in my right ear. A near constant vibration of the--inner ear? eardrum?

Strangely, it only comes to me when it's relatively silent. It's almost as if the smallest external stimuli--like the refrigerator coming on--gives that area something to do, and the spasms stop. This has been going on for quite a few months, and it has been a particularly stressful time.

I'll let you know if I find anything that works...
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Think a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss? Here are five warning signs to watch for.
Discover the common causes of and treatments for a sore throat.
Learn about what actually causes your temperature to spike.
Find out which foods you should watch out for.
Family medicine doctor Enoch Choi, MD helps differentiate between the common cold and more threatening (bacterial) infections
Dr. Steven Park reveals 5 reasons why breathing through your nose could change your life