Unusual sounds (or vibrations) in one or both ears that may occur suddenly and can last from a few minutes to weeks, which are described by patients as continuous clicking without rhythm, are almost always due to muscle spasms. It is similar to “eyelid spasms” or “facial contractions” , but instead of being able to “see” the contraction with the eyes, one hears the contraction as long as the muscles are around the ear or in the ear itself.
Ear clicking noises should not be associated with tinnitus.
The most common causes of these contractions are:
- Myoclonus of the palatal muscles
- Myoclonus of the stapedial or tensor tympani muscles of the middle ear.
Myoclonus of the palate: is a rare motor disorder characterized by continuous rhythmic movements of the soft palate.
Rhythmic movements are accompanied by a rhythmic “clicking” sound. Myoclonus of the palate can be due to:
- Damage in the Guillain-Mollaret triangle of the brain. In this case, rhythmic contractions are also observed in other muscle groups such as the larynx, tongue, face and diaphragm. The existence of this lesion is usually due to neurodegenerative or demyelinating diseases.
- Functional psychogenic factors of the patient.
Myoclonus of the palate can be diagnosed, at the EYiasis madical center, by simple pharyngoscopy or endoscopy where visible “spasms” of the soft palate will be recorded.
Treatment of soft palate myoclonus is performed with Clostridium botulinum injections into the contracted muscles. Just like with Clostridium botulinum treatment on any other part of the body, the results are only temporary and the treatment should be repeated every 6-12 months.
Myoclonus of the middle ear muscles is relatively rare: Tensor tympani syndrome, also known as the tensor tympani myoclonus is a rare form of pulsatile, objective tinnitus, which includes various types of tensor tympani-associated tinnitus caused by contraction of the tensor tympani (TT) muscle. The diagnosis is made after the exclusion of other pathologies at the neuro-otology department of the EYiasis center.