Hearing & Health

Rumbling Sound In Ear? Could Be Tonic Tensor Tympani With Hearing Loss

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Are you hard of hearing and experienced a vibrating sensation and the sounds of rumbling in your ear? You may not be able to completely describe this new feeling, as it may not resemble your average type of tinnitus.  

The rumbling is actually a common symptom of tinnitus. It tends to occur as a way of protecting your ears from noises that are too loud. There are some treatable conditions that may cause this rumbling. 

What causes the sound of rumbling in your ears?

In some cases, the rumbling sound resembles rushing water or wind that’s whisking through the air and into your ear. 

As mentioned, a rumbling sound is used to safeguard your ears. The ears protect themselves by tightened muscles in the inner ear, which suppress sounds. These muscles are known as “tensor tympani”. 

These muscles can pull the malleus (a bone that helps with the ability to hear) in the ear away from the eardrum. Therefore, the eardrum cannot vibrate as much as it normally should. This stifles the ear, causing the rumbling noise.  

This could happen while:

  • Chewing
  • Coughing
  • Yawning
  • Yelling     

It’s important to note that these sounds are not experienced by everyone, but some people do notice the rumbling sounds during these occasions. 

Hidden Medical Reasons

In some cases, there are underlying medical issues that can lead to a rumbling sensation to the ear. These causes can include:

  • Ear infections – middle ear infections or otitis media can happen if fluid cannot drain from your eardrum. As a result, you may experience pain in the ears, fever, feelings of fullness in the ear, and difficulty hearing. In some instances, these hearing issues can lead to a rumbling sound in the ear.
  • Ménière’s disease – this is an inner ear disorder that normally affects one ear and leads to hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, or feelings of fullness/congestion in the ear that could cause a rumbling sound. 

There are treatments for both of these conditions.

Some people can consciously generate these sounds.

In some instances, you can control this rumbling sound. There’s a small subdivision of people who have the ability to contract their tensor tympani muscles in their inner ear whenever they want.

Some people create the sounds subconsciously.

One way to notice whether you are creating the sound is if you anticipate hearing the rumbling sound when you are about to do a specific thing, such as yawn. 

If you have the ability to control when the tensor tympani muscles contract, this could be useful for protecting your ears from louder inner noises. If you can tense your muscles, you may also be able to shield against low-frequency noises so that you can hear higher (and usually more difficult to hear) sound frequencies that are higher in pitch.     

Being able to contract these tensor tympani muscles isn’t something that you should be worried about. 

Tonic Tensor Tympani Syndrome (TTTS)

This is a rare type of tinnitus. This is a form of objective tinnitus, meaning that both the person with the condition and others can hear a sound. Patients with TTTS hear sounds in a different way.

TTTS is also considered a form of pulsatile tinnitus. This means that the condition is related to irregular blood flow. Individuals with high blood pressure, blood vessels with calcifications, and other conditions can have this type of tinnitus.     

Is Tonic Tensor Tympani associated with Tinnitus? 

As frequently mentioned in this blog, tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a noise when there isn’t an identifiable source of the sound nearby. People have often described it as a chirping, clicking, hissing, ringing, roaring, or whooshing noise. 

The impact of tinnitus on hearing health varies from person to person. Some experience tinnitus due to irregularities in their blood vessels. Others encounter issues with muscles in their ears, including the tensor tympani muscles. 

There’s a possibility that the rumbling noise is tinnitus, particularly if it doesn’t happen when chewing or yawning.   

If you or a loved one are experiencing tinnitus and/or hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.  


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