What is the thumping noise in my ear?

Updated February 21, 2017

Thumping sounds in the ear can be disconcerting and even annoying. Some thumping sounds can be caused by ear problems, and others by other health problems in the body.

Plugged Ears

Ears that are filled with wax or fluid during a cold or illness can occasionally drain suddenly from the eustachian tube in the ear. Until the fluid is completely clear, a popping or thumping sound can occur as sounds are muffled due to the fluid.

Middle Ear

Tensor timpani myoclonus is the contraction of muscles in the middle ear that can cause a thumping sound. This condition is rare but does occur.

Cardiovascular Problems

High blood pressure and blood vessel restriction can cause blood to rush to the ear, making the sound of the pulse amplified. The pulse sounds like a loud heartbeat.


Pressure on surrounding blood vessels by a tumour or fluid retention in the brain or skull can sometimes cause thumping sounds.


Sounds in the ear generally go away in a day or two. If symptoms persist beyond a week, treatment may be needed.

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About the Author

Lauren Thompson lives in Kansas City, Missouri and works as both a writer and freelancer. Her background is in technical and spec writing for the information technology industry, as well as financial services. She also writes opinion and editorial articles for KCParent and Parents Edge, specializing in entertainment, food and political realms.