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  #1  
Old 03-14-2009, 04:09 PM
CutterJohn CutterJohn is offline
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Rumbling in my ears

Not all the time, but it seems that, somewhere in or near my ears, there is what I can only assume to be a muscle that I can flex, and when I do so, it causes me to hear a rumbling noise, not unlike the blood noise you hear from a seashell or when you stick a finger in your ear, only a lot stronger.

But, when I 'flex' this supposed muscle, there is no discernible movement that I can feel with my fingers, and in my head it feels like just a ever so slight increase in pressure inside my ears(plus the aforementioned rumbling).

I'm stymied. Any help? What is this, and what is the purpose of this?
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2009, 04:33 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus
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  #3  
Old 03-14-2009, 04:41 PM
drewbert drewbert is offline
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I know what you're talking about, CutterJohn, and it's not tinnitus. It's a rumbling, not a ringing. I've always wondered about it too. I can start it and stop it at will any time, and have been for as long as I can remember.
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  #4  
Old 03-14-2009, 04:43 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Ah, the old Tensor tympani muscle.
Quote:
Following exposure to intolerable sounds, this contraction of the tensor tympani muscle tightens the ear drum, which can lead to the symptoms of ear pain/a fluttering sensation/a sensation of fullness in the ear (in the absence of any middle or inner ear pathology). A small percentage of the population can actually voluntarily contract this muscle, inducing a noticeable and (until explained) odd 'rumbling' sound to occur.
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  #5  
Old 03-14-2009, 04:53 PM
drewbert drewbert is offline
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That's gotta be it! Wow, ancient mystery solved...
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  #6  
Old 03-14-2009, 04:55 PM
John H John H is offline
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Not sure if this is the same, but I can contract a muscle that seems to be in the back of my through which pulls open my eustacian tubes and is usually accompanied by a noticeable sort of popping/crackling sound. While the muscles are tense I can hear what I presume to be blood flowing and I can also hear myself breathing.
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  #7  
Old 03-14-2009, 05:10 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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Wow! from me too. I know exactly what you mean, have been able to do it all my life, and just a day or two ago found myself wondering for the thousandth time what exactly the hell was going on. Pressing and poking around my ear with my finger, trying to detect any muscle activity.

That is so cool to have it explained.


.

Last edited by TreacherousCretin; 03-14-2009 at 05:10 PM.. Reason: spello
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  #8  
Old 03-14-2009, 06:32 PM
Rufus Xavier Rufus Xavier is offline
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Count me as one of the individuals in a "small percentage of the population" who can voluntarily contract the tensor tympani. I always wondered about this. Thank you!!
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  #9  
Old 03-14-2009, 06:43 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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We've had at least one thread about this before. I've always been able to do it, and didn't know it was so rare.
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  #10  
Old 03-14-2009, 07:15 PM
Tamex Tamex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John H View Post
Not sure if this is the same, but I can contract a muscle that seems to be in the back of my through which pulls open my eustacian tubes and is usually accompanied by a noticeable sort of popping/crackling sound. While the muscles are tense I can hear what I presume to be blood flowing and I can also hear myself breathing.
I can do this, too. The rumbling sound is definitely my own breath.

Did you grow up at high altitude? I did, and have always been able to make my ears pop at will.
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  #11  
Old 03-14-2009, 07:34 PM
John H John H is offline
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Around 1000ft in the mid-west. It's fairly flat where I live but I did swim a lot in my youth.
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  #12  
Old 03-14-2009, 09:52 PM
Toaster Toaster is offline
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I grew up at nearly sea level by the Gulf Coast, and can both move my tensor tympani and my eustachian tubes. I canNOT wiggle my ears though...nearly got a triad of ear-rarities, darn.
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  #13  
Old 03-15-2009, 07:42 AM
Wiltshire Wiltshire is offline
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Hey, I'm part of a small percentage population group. Cool. I wonder if it's related to this quirk. Why does my eye close when I eat something sour? Maybe some people have a biological predisposition to re-discover the use of long-forgotten muscle groups in the human body in new and exciting ways. Sounds dirty.
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  #14  
Old 03-16-2009, 01:43 PM
PuddingCat PuddingCat is offline
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I can contract my tensor tympani, stretch my eustachian tubes *and* wiggle my ears too. Do I get a prize?

I'd always wondered what the rumble was though, so thanks!

t.

Last edited by PuddingCat; 03-16-2009 at 01:44 PM.. Reason: remove foul language!
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  #15  
Old 03-16-2009, 02:30 PM
capybara capybara is offline
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I had no idea that this was not a universal trait. Huh.
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  #16  
Old 03-16-2009, 05:38 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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CutterJohn, here's a riddle:
Quote:
What bodily function, when suspended for a fortnight then resumed, feels and sounds like the shuddering thunder of a freight train?--From The Institute Of Official Cheer
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  #17  
Old 03-16-2009, 09:24 PM
Ponch8 Ponch8 is offline
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I can make this noise in my right ear only. Are there any others who can do it in only one ear, or in neither?
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  #18  
Old 03-16-2009, 09:36 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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It happens to me, totally involuntarily. If I get an itch on a certain spot on the bottom of my foot - the weird rumbly happens in my right ear. It won't stop until I take my shoe off and scratch the itch.

It's annoying.
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  #19  
Old 03-16-2009, 11:49 PM
ambushed ambushed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D. View Post
The discussion and descriptions offered in this thread seem pretty much like what used to happen to me, but the difference was that it happened every time I heard anything, particularly music for some reason. What doesn't fit is that absolutely no "intolerable sounds" were involved whatsoever. No matter how quiet the sound was -- and I include music played through speakers at, say, level 0.5 out of 10 -- I would experience the rumbling throughout the entire period, and occasionally even when no ambient sound was present at all, not even street noise.

Also, like Ponch8, I only had this problem in my right ear. Never had any problem with my left.

I sought out hearing specialists for this problem, which I experienced for at least five years. No one offered any potential diagnosis. It drove me crazy because music is exceptionally important to me, and this rumbling interfered with my enjoyment. All my hearing tests reported excellent hearing with no recognizable problems at all.

When I consulted a surgeon specializing in the ear, he told me that he could cut something (I can't recall now exactly what; a muscle? a tendon?). If he presented me with an official diagnosis, I don't have any record of it (he just explained it in layman's terms that I don't recall with any accuracy). Would that fit with the tensor tympani muscle issue under discussion?

I found the risks of surgical repair -- including possible permanent deafness in that ear -- much too high, again because, to quote Nietzsche, "Without music, life would be a mistake". And it's a good think I rejected that approach, because it's been at least a year since I've had any problem at all.

FTR, I cannot voluntarily flex the tensor tympani.
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  #20  
Old 03-17-2009, 02:09 AM
Bootis Bootis is offline
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I am also someone who can make the rumble at will. I wonder though, all you people who can't do it, do you hear the rumble when you yawn? I've noticed the exact same noise when yawning, but only with a succesfull yawn, not on the attempt process.Sometimes though the noise happens as I'm trying to yawn, and it gets closer to being a successful yawn, but ultimately fails. I've also found, that in those annoying times when trying to yawn, and sitting there like an idiot when my mouth open and nothing happening, that initiating that rumble seems to help make the yawn happen. Anyway, sorry I probably got everyone yawning now.

Also, does anyone else have a time limit on the rumble? I can do it for like 5-10 seconds, then becomes hard to hold it, then it dies.

Last edited by Bootis; 03-17-2009 at 02:12 AM..
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  #21  
Old 02-22-2010, 03:52 PM
Nanemae Nanemae is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bootis View Post
I am also someone who can make the rumble at will. I wonder though, all you people who can't do it, do you hear the rumble when you yawn? I've noticed the exact same noise when yawning, but only with a succesfull yawn, not on the attempt process.Sometimes though the noise happens as I'm trying to yawn, and it gets closer to being a successful yawn, but ultimately fails. I've also found, that in those annoying times when trying to yawn, and sitting there like an idiot when my mouth open and nothing happening, that initiating that rumble seems to help make the yawn happen. Anyway, sorry I probably got everyone yawning now.

Also, does anyone else have a time limit on the rumble? I can do it for like 5-10 seconds, then becomes hard to hold it, then it dies.
Does this sort of thing have an age requirement? I'm only 15, but I've been able to hear the rumble too, and I can also control it at will. But I can only do it for about the same amount of time.
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  #22  
Old 04-11-2011, 09:43 PM
jamer20120 jamer20120 is offline
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Found you guys finally!

I have been looking for a thread like this for years! I have never found anything this close. For me, I discovered the rumbling when I was very young like 10 yrs old or something. I will never forget it. I noticed it first when I had a yawn. Then had a dream that I could do it involuntary. Then it just became available at will. It was like an awakening. I started to test it when i was very young. I was convinced there would be some need to do it for long periods of time. However, it seemed that there was a point where it could not go any longer than maybe a minute.
I am 38 yrs. old and through much trial and tribulation I have determined that it gives a greater threshold for pain when used appropriately. Have you ever tried it during weight lifting? In fact, I have engaged it many times during a wide array of any number of activities. Today, I had the hiccups and I engaged the rumbling and they were gone in a second. I wonder what percentage of the population can do the rumbling.

...Can you also wiggle your eyes?
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  #23  
Old 04-12-2011, 02:55 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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I believe (and was told by an M.D.) that the subsequent "rumbling" is your heart. If you pay attention you feel the correlation.
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  #24  
Old 03-20-2012, 09:48 PM
Madzizm Madzizm is offline
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Finally!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
I believe (and was told by an M.D.) that the subsequent "rumbling" is your heart. If you pay attention you feel the correlation.
Holy crap I can totally hear that, I've been doing it for as long as I can remember. Exceptionally noticeable when yawning, and when the yawn fails I sit and mess around with the sound wondering what the hell it could be. I'm amazed to find out it is a rare thing! Have always assumed everyone could do it. As i have just started working out i will definately try it to see what effects it has. And to cure hiccups! Thank you guys for finding this stuff out!
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  #25  
Old 03-21-2012, 06:39 AM
Colophon Colophon is online now
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I can do it. I assumed everyone could. As Bootis says, there seems to be a time limit on how long I can hold it for, and I also get it during a good yawn. In fact making the sound often triggers off a yawn. I can't really pinpoint it to one ear or the other, though.

Previous rumbling thread.
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  #26  
Old 03-22-2012, 12:49 AM
Satellite^Guy Satellite^Guy is offline
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I can do it, and I've always interpreted the rumble as muscle tremors vibrating close enough to the ear for it to become an audible sensation.

It happens, as previously stated, during a "successful" yawn, and also if I scrunch my eyes closed tight, to the point where the muscles in my neck tense up. I believe that the tense neck muscles are integral to the phenomenon.

I can also do it, to a much lesser extent (quieter) by tensing my jaw. I maintain that the noise is tense muscles vibrating.

Last edited by Satellite^Guy; 03-22-2012 at 12:51 AM..
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  #27  
Old 03-22-2012, 01:06 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CutterJohn View Post
Not all the time, but it seems that, somewhere in or near my ears, there is what I can only assume to be a muscle that I can flex, and when I do so, it causes me to hear a rumbling noise, not unlike the blood noise you hear from a seashell or when you stick a finger in your ear, only a lot stronger.
I have something similar that arises from time to time. I don't know what muscles are involved except that it seems to be right around the eardrums. These muscles sometimes go on rampage of fluttering (it seems to be a form of fasciculation and is totally involuntary -- I can't make it happen, and when it happens, I can't do much to make it stop. It comes in spells that can last days or weeks at a time, during which it is sort of on-and-off all the time.

I can actually feel (sometimes) the fluttering sensation in or around my eardrums (often in just one ear), and there is a low rumbling noise that seems to make sense, since I think the eardrum is actually getting fluttered around by nearby muscles. It gets moderately annoying after a while.
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  #28  
Old 05-27-2012, 10:58 AM
Lollyg888 Lollyg888 is offline
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Me,Too

Quote:
Originally Posted by CutterJohn View Post
Not all the time, but it seems that, somewhere in or near my ears, there is what I can only assume to be a muscle that I can flex, and when I do so, it causes me to hear a rumbling noise, not unlike the blood noise you hear from a seashell or when you stick a finger in your ear, only a lot stronger.

But, when I 'flex' this supposed muscle, there is no discernible movement that I can feel with my fingers, and in my head it feels like just a ever so slight increase in pressure inside my ears(plus the aforementioned rumbling).

I'm stymied. Any help? What is this, and what is the purpose of this?
I've always been able to do this. Thought everyone could, so I never thought to even look this up until today when my husband said he can't do it.

I do it when something especially loud (fire engine) is going on-- it hampers the noise. I think my doing so negates the horribly loud noise and protects my eardrums.

People who don't understand (from what I've been reading today) our ability say it's tinnitus, but there's no ringing and it's completely at my will, except for when I yawn.

FYI: I don't hear extremely well, but I'm very sensitive to loud sounds and I can hear
very high-pitch sounds very well. Hope this helps!

I say it's not a condition... it is an ability!
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  #29  
Old 07-14-2012, 11:01 PM
Levi Levi is offline
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I can do this to also give my self goose bumps can any one else do this and give them selves
goose bumps or raise heart rate and or dialate there pupils im trying to see if thes.e are related
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  #30  
Old 07-15-2012, 02:52 AM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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I can do it at will, for those of you who try to feel for a muscle moving, feel UNDER the ear lobe, on the skull, that's where my muscle flexes and it's very noticeable (to touch, not sight). I can do it on both ears, or my right ear alone. I can't do it on my left ear without my right ear joining in, however. I don't always get in on a yawn or stretch, but a really big one will cause it as an involuntary reaction. (Amendment: I just burped and got it in just my left ear, strange).

Though the "small percentage of the population" thing would explain why everybody looked at me funny when I was little and tried to explain the damn thing. Eventually I just gave up and figured I wasn't using the right words.
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  #31  
Old 08-20-2012, 09:28 PM
BeerFoot BeerFoot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bootis View Post
I am also someone who can make the rumble at will. I wonder though, all you people who can't do it, do you hear the rumble when you yawn? I've noticed the exact same noise when yawning, but only with a succesfull yawn, not on the attempt process.Sometimes though the noise happens as I'm trying to yawn, and it gets closer to being a successful yawn, but ultimately fails. I've also found, that in those annoying times when trying to yawn, and sitting there like an idiot when my mouth open and nothing happening, that initiating that rumble seems to help make the yawn happen. Anyway, sorry I probably got everyone yawning now.

Also, does anyone else have a time limit on the rumble? I can do it for like 5-10 seconds, then becomes hard to hold it, then it dies.
Man i signed up just to say thanks you. i have had this breathing problem for years nows where i go to yawn and nothing! and it would just irritate me so bad. but thanks. and i also got the rumble. but i was sittin here doing it for like 20 minutes and all of sudden had a huge ear'grain or something of that sort. and idk if anyone else can do this but my shoulder blades extend out and look like little wings
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  #32  
Old 08-20-2012, 09:57 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
I believe (and was told by an M.D.) that the subsequent "rumbling" is your heart. If you pay attention you feel the correlation.
Concur. Can be easily confirmed if you think about it.
I too was always baffled by this. I think I coupled the tensing in my ear to psychological stress (like some people tighten their fists), which upset me further, and hello feed forward loop.

Realizing that it is voluntary and has a consistent cause/effect was very helpful.
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  #33  
Old 08-20-2012, 10:01 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jragon View Post
...(Amendment: I just burped and got it in just my left ear, strange)....
You burped while writing in GQ?!? And you freely admitted it? Makes you wonder what else people are doing while they type.
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  #34  
Old 09-16-2012, 05:08 PM
venhip venhip is offline
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Im not alone!

I was just lying in bed and I (contracted?) my tensor tympani and I thought "I can't be the only one able to do this." but never having discussed it with anyone I didnt know if it was common so I was very pleased when I came across this forum its great to know what it is now! I've also found it increases my pain tolerence and that I can't hold it too long (around 15-20 seconds). I'm only 15 but I've been able to do it for as long as I can remember. Thanks for this thread, now I know I'm a rarity!
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