Is Ear Fluttering Serious? When To Seek Medical Attention?

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Butterflies fluttering in the stomach is a good feeling but, then the same fluttering sensation in ears can create a mess. For some people, the fluttering comes and goes, but for others, it continues to stay. Whatever the situation is troublesome, and it causes discomfort. It is like a constant vibration or the sound of a bee humming.

Fluttering in the ears is not a serious problem but it affects the quality of life and hearing abilities. It is a serious condition if the reason causing it is alarming. People who feel the fluttering sound often describe it as the sound of helicopter blades. 

How to diagnose the ear fluttering?

More than the treatment or seriousness, the most difficult part is to understand the diagnosis of the ailment. Guidelines for diagnosing the ailment. The reason is that there are no guidelines for diagnosis. The doctors refer to already published cases to determine, describe, and decide the treatment. 

diagnose the ear fluttering

causes of ear fluttering

1. Tinnitus

Tinnitus has many causes; doctors describe it as a perception of sound without any perception of sound. The condition affects about ten percent of the world’s population. People who experience it are defined as fluttering, throbbing, bubbling, tickling, crackling, twitching, blowing, whooshing, clicking, or buzzing sound. 

People hear sound in one or both ears. The sound is often rhythmic, regular, irregular, continuous, or intermittent. It is mostly caused due to dysfunction in the ear. The situation arises mostly because of a tumor caused by Meniere’s disease. At times, it could also arise due to hearing loss or exposure to extremely loud sounds.

The treatment here is not available. It is possible to manage the situation. To reduce the discomfort from tinnitus there are medications available. Also, one could opt for hearing aids that could help if the problem is due to hearing loss.

Behavioral treatment can help reduce the attention toward the internal sound. The therapy can help deal with anxiety and depression that could lead to tinnitus.

2. Myoclonus

Doctors suggest that muscles in the middle ear become dysfunctional, and that causes the fluttering sound. It is a very rare condition, and doctors refer to it as a middle ear myoclonus (MEM), and it is a diagnosis of tinnitus. On a person’s symptoms and long-time-based tympanometry, the doctor will diagnose the fluttering in the ear.

MEM has no identifiable cause, and at times, a trauma, involuntary facial muscle spasms, or essential tremor of the soft palate could result in it. To treat the ailment there are medicines and surgical therapies. Some widely used treatments are benzodiazepines, carbamazepine, piracetam, botulinum toxin, and orphenadrine.

However, there are limited studies on the efficacy of the drugs. Tympanectomy is a procedure where the muscle is detached from the middle ear but then it is useful in some cases only.

3. Eustachian tube dysfunction

The eustachian tube connects the back of the nose to the middle ear. It is used for ventilating the middle ear and protecting the middle ear from germs. It works to keep the air pressure across the middle ear equal to the outside pressure and thus lets the middle ear vibrate efficiently.

Dysfunction here causes ringing in the ears, difficulty in hearing, disbalance of the body, and a strong feeling of fullness in the ear. Respiratory tract infections or allergies cause eustachia.

To treat it, non-surgically, nasal douching, decongestants, antibodies, or simethicone are used. The most popular surgical treatment is the insertion of a pressure-equalizing tube. 

4. Patulous eustachian tube

A patulous eustachian tube is a dysfunction when both tubes stay open most of the time. The tube is meant to stay closed and open only to release pressure and help the body balance.

Some of the symptoms of the ailment are echoing, wave-like sounds, fullness in ears, and constant sounds of breathing or buzzing.

Birth Control pills and diuretics mostly caused the problem. To manage the situation the doctors recommend lowering the head between the knees.

However, benzyl alcohol, estrogen, anticholinergics, diluted hydrochloric acid, or chlorobutanol can help treat the ailment. If the above drugs cannot help and the symptoms worsen then surgery is the only option. 

5. Meniere’s disease

It is a chronic disorder of the vestibular system that controls balance and equilibrium. Such people have large amounts of fluids called endolymph collecting in the middle ear. It causes hearing loss, ear pressure, dizziness, and tinnitus.

It is unclear as to what could lead to it, but then mostly allergies, viral infections, circulation problems, autoimmune reasons, migraine, and some genetic reasons could cause it. Lifestyle changes, medications, surgery, or ear injections can help treat the ailment. 

treatments For ear fluttering

If fluttering ears are not causing much of an issue then there are some home remedies to tackle them. To manage the situation there are some ways like:

  1. Pacing a warm towel over the ear
  2. Taking a decongestant to dry the fluid build-up in the sinus cavities to reduce the pressure build-up. 
  3. Most of the time, chewing gum can help ease the irritation caused by the sound. 
  4. Swallowing continuously by pinching your nose can help release the pressure. The middle ear muscles are relaxed and this helps immediately.
  5. If there is excessive fluid buildup, then turning the head parallel to the ground and pulling slightly backward by gently pulling the earlobe can help to empty the ear. 
  6. Autophagy can also help. Though it is a new concept and research is still in its initial research stages. It is a Nobel Prize-winning concept. It states that the body eats up its own dead and unwanted cells. Thus the fluid is removed when the body is in an autophagy state. Then autophagy can help to remove the fluttering sensation. 

Is Ear Fluttering Serious?

It is evident that a fluttering ear is nothing serious but then it is a discomfort. It does not have a proper diagnosis or medications that could completely cure it. Mostly lifestyle changes that one can make to help treat the ailment. Most cases that get very severe are curable only by medical intervention. The surgery is simple and not very invasive. Thus, opt for an option after consulting a specialist.

References

  • Chien HF, Sanchez TG, Sennes LU, Barbosa ER. Endonasal approach of salpingopharyngeus muscle for the treatment of ear click related to palatal tremor. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2007;13:254–256. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2006.05.004.  [CrossRef]
  • Chan C, Palaniappan R. Middle ear myoclonus: a new technique for suppression of spontaneous clicking tinnitus. Int Tinnitus J. 2010;16:51–54. [PubMed]

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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