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Possible diagnosis of tinnitus

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I have a dull thumping sound in my right ear. It comes and goes sporadically and nothing seems to set it off. It is not in unison with my heart beat, so I know this is not what it is. I have full hearing function and no pain. I have tried suctioning my ear with my hand whilst it occurs, to no avail.

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replied March 31st, 2010
Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Answer A11030

According to the data you reported (thumping sound in ear that comes and goes sporadically, not in unison with heart beat), you might have experienced tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a condition in which sound is perceived without any apparent sound source. There are several possible causes for tinnitus. One of the most common includes noice-induced hearing loss. External ear infection and ototxic drugs might also be responsible. In older patients presbyacusia (hearing loss related to aging) might cause tinnitus. In certain cases, the patients are simply too sensitive for their own body and the sound might originate from blood vessel near the ear.

You might want to visit a specialist for Ear, Nose and Throat for an auditory examination in order to try to detect whether there is a physical cause for tinnitus that needs to be treated. Otherwise, you might be advised to take certain medications, such as benzodiazepines, tryciclic antidepressants, etc.

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