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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What does clicking sensation in the ear indicate?

Answered by
Dr. Sumit Bhatti

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2589 Questions

Posted on Tue, 18 Aug 2015 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: I asked a PA about clicking in my left ear. This sounds like a mechanical noise to me, similar to a loud wristwatch clicking if you held it close to your ear. The PS responded that the clicking symptom can sometimes mean a possible blockage in the carotid artery. Alternatively I have read that clicking can also be just another symptom for tinitis.

I am obviously more concerned that my symptom may be caused by a carotid artery disorder.
Which, if either, is more likely the cause of periodic/intermittent clicking in my left ear.

Thank you,
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Tinnitus may result from many causes. It is common.

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for your query.

1. If the clicking sound is synchronous to your heartbeat, it is more likely to be a vascular tinnitus.

2. First get the ears examined by an ENT Specialist. Rule out ear wax build-up. Hearing tests (PTA - Pure Tone Audiogram) and an Impedance Audiometry (Tympanometry) should be done. Decreased hearing and changes in middle ear air pressure can result in tinnitus.

3. Both can be intermittent or periodic. Some degree of carotid narrowing is normal with age. A neck vessel colour doppler or an MR Angiogram will settle the issue.

4. Rarely muscles spasms (myoclonus), especially of the palate and jaw, can be the source of the clicking sounds. Hence these areas should also be examined.

5. Most cases of tinnitus need no treatment. Upload these test results for further treatment options.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have any more questions I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad

The User accepted the expert's answer

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