ZocdocAnswersWhy is there a beating sound in my right ear?

Question

Why is there a beating sound in my right ear?

I'm a 20 year old college student with no prior medical problems until I returned to school at the start of last fall. After about a week back at school, I noticed an odd beating sound in my right ear, kind of like a heartbeat. It's not a problem when I'm in classes during the day, but at night it sometimes makes it hard to fall asleep. Could it be caused by some kind of infection?

Answer

That is a great question. From the description provided, it is unclear if you have had any recent trauma, or if indeed these heart beat sounds correspond to your heartbeat, but these would be beneficial to know. There are many possibilities for a beating sound or whooshing sound in one ear and the discussion of all possibilities is beyond the scope of this discussion. For this reason, it is important that you discuss this with your primary care doctor or neurologist who will be better able to decide upon the appropriate work up. This may include imaging studies or lab studies, or perhaps a referral to a specialist. In terms of broad categories, some of the concerns may include infections residing in or around the bones or air cells in your ear, tumors that reside deep within the recesses of your cranial cavity, which are often described as a whooshing sound or beating sound in your ear, certain inflammatory disorders, trauma, or a variety of other possibilities. Unfortunately, it is difficult to assess what this could be without an appropriate physical examination and review of your medical history, which is why it is again recommended that you make an appointment to be evaluated by a medical professional who can better assess these symptoms and decide what the work up should include.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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