Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Ticking noise from ears ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Ticking noise from ears
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: gj-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 20 Jul 2002 11:22 PDT
Expires: 19 Aug 2002 11:22 PDT
Question ID: 43209
What could cause a ticking sound (like a clock, with conditions that
follow) to emanate from both ears, audible to others up to two feet
away? The sound is not synchronized with the heart beat and is not
caused by spasms of the stapedial or tympanic tendons. It's not normal tinnitus.

Clarification of Question by gj-ga on 20 Jul 2002 17:15 PDT
We've seen doctors and done tests, but they're not sure what's causing the noise.

Clarification of Question by gj-ga on 20 Jul 2002 18:00 PDT
There is no infection; the sound started suddenly and has persisted
for a few years. We've heard a lot of guesses from people, so, if you
have an answer, please provide references (online or off). We know
it's a tough one. Thanks.
Subject: Re: Ticking noise from ears
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 20 Jul 2002 18:48 PDT

As always  on Google Answers, I must remind you that our answers are
no substitute for proper medical care, and recommend that you discuss
this with your own medical provider.

That said, my first impression is that this IS tinnitus, just not the
garden variety type. You said it is not caused my muscle spams - did a
medical professional tell you this? From your short description, it
sounds as if it could indeed be palatal myoclonus,  or objective
clicking tinnitus. . The objective form of palatal myoclonus is indeed
audible to others, and very rare. The middle ear muscles attached to
the ossicles (little bones)  and/or the nasopharyngeal muscle
contracts, causing the ossicles to vibrate, and producing the sound.
This can be treated, if severe enough with muscle relaxants or botox
injections (still under investigative studies). It is very important
that you be evaluated by your doctor, especially  since this occurs
bilaterally as opposed to unilaterally.

Objective clicking tinnitus can also be caused by TMJ
(temporal-mandibular joint) misalignment, and Menniere's disease.

Dr. Douglas Hoffman  discusses  palatal myoclonus   in very basic
terms on this site at iVillage:,11816,165983_173323,00.html

More on TMJ symptoms by Harvard's Medical School Dr. Peter Quinn who
says that the displacement of a small disk that serves to absorb
impact in the jaw, can cause popping and/or clicking, that may be
sudible to others, though not as loud as it is to the patient:,IHW%7C%7Est,333%7C%7Er,WSIHW000%7C%7Eb,*%7C

In an abstract I found on Medline, some people may find relief from
botox injections. (Botox is a toxin produced by the anaerobic
bacterium clostridium botulinum , and can cause severe and often fatal
food poisoning if ingested.) It is used to lessen wrinkles in the
skin, and as you can read on the sites below, is being studied for
it's uses in myoclonus and speech defects)

The National Institutes of Health (INH) is also running studies on
botox injections:

For more general information about palatal myoclonus :

Since the purpose of Google Answers is not to diagnose medical
problems, this answer simply implies what your ear clicking COULD be,
not what it IS.

There are other possiblities, a few of which I will mention here. A
complete compilation of possible causes of the clicking is beyond the
scope of this website. Anemia, medications, infection, brain tumor,
and vascular irregularities could all cause your problem. Finally, it
may not be a current infection, but remains of an old infection. If
you were to look in the ear canal with an otiscope, of a person who
has had serious ear infections, you can find what looks like jagged
boulders! (With the use of the magnifying otiscope of course). These
"boulders" are calcium "rocks" that form from infections. Pieces can
break off and cause loss of balance, along with other oddities, such
as ticking, clicking sounds!

Best of luck-crabcakes

"Did you hear about the medical student who read his textbook so
thoroughly that he came down with pages 14-105 !" Please take all the
information above as just that, information, and visit your doctor!
Subject: Re: Ticking noise from ears
From: alienintelligence-ga on 20 Jul 2002 16:54 PDT
Any chance it could be an infection, or 
blockage of the eustachian tube? And I
have to ask... seen a doctor? You should
always consult a physician in medical 
cases, and do not use us as your ultimate

Subject: Re: Ticking noise from ears
From: alienintelligence-ga on 22 Jul 2002 04:33 PDT
Well, next important question. 
Have you had a CT scan or a MRI
done? Have they imaged anything
in that area? I think that would
be a next important step. 

The Dr's aren't concerned?


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy