Have you ever experienced a fluttering sound in your ear? Some people describe it as having butterfly wings flapping in their ears, while others say it’s more akin to helicopter blades. Though it may sound odd, it’s actually a symptom of several common conditions.
Is Fluttering in the Ear Dangerous?
While it’s undoubtedly a strange sensation, a fluttering in the ear is not typically a sign of any serious health problem. However, it can be disruptive when you’re at work or out with friends at Crema Coffee, impacting your quality of life. Let’s examine some of the more common causes of fluttering in the ear, as well as when to see a doctor.
Common Causes of Fluttering Sounds in the Ear
- Tinnitus is described as a ringing in the ear. Though, others experience a clicking, buzzing, whooshing, thumping, and even fluttering sound instead. Tinnitus is a symptom of another condition and can be experienced acutely, coming and going for a few days, or can be chronic, with symptoms lasting for months and even years.
- Middle ear myoclonus is a condition that causes dysfunctional contractions in the muscles of the middle ear and leads to fluttering. According to the National Institutes of Health, “the term middle ear myoclonus (MEM) has been invoked to explain symptoms of tinnitus presumably caused by the dysfunctional movement of either of the two muscles that insert in the middle ear: tensor tympani and stapedius.”
- Eustachian tube dysfunction happens when the tube that connects from the back of the nose to the middle ear is swollen or struggles to open and close properly. In addition to fluttering, this can lead to symptoms such as a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear, tinnitus, muffled hearing and temporary hearing loss.
- Earwax buildup occurs when too much earwax blocks the ear canal. It may happen due to an overproduction of earwax or improper cleaning with a cotton swab that leads to impaction. You may experience a clogged ear, trouble hearing, or discharge from the ear, and it could potentially lead to an ear infection.
Several non-ear-related conditions may cause fluttering as well, including an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or high blood pressure.
When to Visit a Doctor
Though ear fluttering is often more annoying than anything, if you have persistent symptoms, it’s worth making an appointment with your medical provider to help determine the cause and treat the underlying issue.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Arizona Hearing Specialists today.