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Any clue as to what this persistent tapping noise is?

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I am 35 yrs old. For about 2 months I've been experiencing a tapping noise ( Several taps that last a few seconds which sound exactly like morse code) only in my left ear. It comes about every one or two hours. I had sinusitis and felt as though my symptoms were getting worse so I recently had allergy testing only to be diagnosed with Vasomotor/Non-Allergic Rhinitis. I currently take olopatadine and flonase, Vitamin D, and Gabapentin. The gabapentin is prescribed as needed by my Neurologist to treat shock like pains I periodically get in my legs. I had MRI testing done for the leg pain but all were normal. Any clue as to what this persistent tapping noise is or if I should be concerned or just try to ignore it? Thanks!!


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replied March 6th, 2016
Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Answer A56173
Hi! Thanks for your query on eHealth Forum!

Tapping sound in a set pattern can be due to pulsatile tinnitus where you hear your own pulse. The most common cause of pulsatile tinnitus is noisy blood flow as blood pushes through plaques or kinks in the arteries in the head or neck. It can be made worse if there is also hypertension. Several types of fistulas in the blood vessels of head and neck, especially the carotid artery or jugular vein can also cause this. Increased blood flow as seen in anemia and hyperthyroid state can also cause pulsatile tinnitus.

Fluid in middle ear can be another cause. This is the MOST likely cause in your case as you have upper respiratory tract infection/sinusitis.

Vascular tumors of middle ear such as glomus tumors or paragangliomas can also cause this. Please consult an ENT specialist and a vascular specialist for this. You may need angiograms, dopplar studies of vessels of head and neck and may be CT scans of ear. Hope this helps! Take care!


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