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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Ear fluttering

12/17/1999

Question:

I have a fluttering in my one ear - can you give me any idea what it is.

Answer:

"Ear fluttering" can represent another form of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a sound heard by someone either in their ear(s) or head, usually when there is no external sound actually generating the noise. Tinnitus can take on a variety of characteristics. Some people describe ringing, buzzing, rushing, ocean roaring, chirping, clicking, etc.

To evaluate someone with tinnitus, an ear nose and throat physician will typically start with a history and physical exam, as well as an audiogram. An audiogram is a hearing test whose purpose is to see how the auditory system is working. Although the majority of cases of tinnitus turn out to be benign and idiopathic, occasionally tinnitus can be a sign of ear disease. Anything from a simple ear infection to tumors of the hearing nerve or even medication side effects or (normal) age-related hearing loss can cause tinnitus. Based on the results of a physician`s evaluation, further workup can include an imaging study (CT or MRI scan) or other specialized hearing tests.

Then treatments are based on the test results and diagnosis.

Further information on tinnitus can be obtained from your local physician or national organizations such as the American Tinnitus Association.

Related Resources:

American Tinnitus Association

For more information:

Go to the Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati