Have you ever felt as though there were helicopter blades or butterfly wings flapping in your ear? These sensations, also described as fluttering in the ear, are not entirely uncommon. Let’s examine three possible causes of fluttering in the ear, as well as treatment options.
Tinnitus is experienced as a ringing in the ear. However, others have described it as clicking, buzzing, roaring or other noises as well. Tinnitus is a symptom of many other conditions and in most cases, is subjective. This means that only the person experiencing it can hear it and not an objective third party like an audiologist. Some people experience tinnitus as a fluttering in the ear. You may experience it in one or both ears, and it can come and go or be fairly constant.
Treating the underlying cause of tinnitus can help clear up symptoms. However, sometimes a cause cannot be found, or tinnitus is not fully relieved by treating that condition. While there’s no universal cure, treatment options include acoustic therapy, hearing aids, cognitive behavioral therapy, medications and stress management techniques.
Middle Ear Myoclonus
Middle ear myoclonus (MEM) is a condition that causes contractions in the muscles of the middle ear, which causes 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.”
Medication can help in the treatment of MEM, including benzodiazepines, carbamazepine, orphenadrine and piracetam. In certain cases, a surgical procedure that detaches the muscles from the middle ear is recommended.
Too Much Earwax
Our ears are actually quite skilled at cleaning themselves and knowing how much earwax to produce. However, various factors can cause earwax buildup including attempting to clean your ears with a cotton swab, as well as regular use of hearing aids or earbuds. If this happens, you may experience pressure or fullness in the ear, earache, pain, itchiness, temporary hearing loss and fluttering in the ear.
The safest option for earwax removal is to visit an ENT specialist. However, there are also over-the-counter earwax removal kits. Do not try to remove earwax by sticking anything into your ear.
Should I See a Doctor for Fluttering in the Ear?
Persistent fluttering in the ear can be bothersome and distracting whether you’re at work or out with friends at Sleeping Bird Coffee. While rarely a sign of any serious health issue, it should be addressed by a medical professional if it happens on a regular basis.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a specialist, contact Wilmington Audiology Services today.