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HomeAnswersOtolaryngology (E.N.T)tinnitusWhy do I hear strange noise at night?

I am hearing a strange noise only at night. Please help.

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The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

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Published At January 24, 2017
Reviewed AtAugust 1, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Around three months back, I started to hear a strange noise at night. We live in a village. Apart from the odd barking dog and passing car, it is silent, especially at night. However, I started to hear what sounded like a distant engine, but it never got any closer. It is almost like a droning sound, not a hum as such as seemed to almost vibrating through me. It did not particularly stop me sleeping, but was annoying. It was there for a couple of nights and I would go outside and could not hear it. I could hear it in other rooms of the house, although maybe not as loud as the bedroom. I could find no real explanation for it. Electric cables are going to the house but have been the same for years, and nothing has changed. Then a couple of weeks later, the noise was back and was really loud when I went to bed. I fell asleep but woke in the middle of the night, and it kept me awake. The next day I could still hear it everywhere in the house, also in the next door house, but not so much outside. It is like a constant distant aircraft noise or car engine that goes in and out, louder, quieter, louder, quieter and at times I almost feel it than hear it. It left me tired with a slight headache, and it was just pulsating through my body all the time. That was the worst day.

Since then we moved to another house in an entirely different area, although still a quiet village location. There is a very little passing traffic as we are at the end of a lane. At first the noise seemed to have gone; however, I have begun to notice it again. I can hear it all the time, but in the day there are other noises and distractions. It is at night when it is very quiet I can hear a constant drone. It now seems mainly in my left ear, or I can hear it especially in that ear. If I put my finger in that ear, it stops. Also if I hold my nose and blow and keep the pressure up the noise cannot be heard. If I put my finger in my right ear, I can still hear it, although maybe not as loudly. For example, it was very distant this morning. If I put my left ear on the pillow and lie on my side, I can hear it just the same. It does not keep me awake and or cause me any real problems. I am just getting concerned it could be due to something nasty, like a brain tumour or something.

I went to the pharmacist and got some cleaning spray. I have also had a consultation with an ENT specialist. I did not explain to him about the droning sound as it is difficult in another language, but he gave me a checkup and did not find anything out of the ordinary by looking in my ears, nose, throat, etc. I have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism although I can get no connection. If it is tinnitus, then I can live with it quickly enough at the moment. But, I am concerned that it could be the symptom of any serious underlying problem. I have had recent blood tests done, and they were all fine apart from my TSH levels for hypothyroidism, and my blood pressure is fine.

Answered by Dr. Mehak Agarwal

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I would advise you get pure tone audiometry and tympanometry. We will know if you have any hearing loss and pressure changes in your ear. Also, in a few thyroid patients, tinnitus is common. But, you should get the above tests done for a correct diagnosis. If they are fine, then no worry. If not, then we will have to proceed with HRCT of the temporal bone. Also, for now, you can take Amitriptyline along with a combination of multivitamin and Ginkgo Biloba for 15 days and see if there is any relief in your symptoms. If yes, then you can continue longer.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you, but not sure why I would want to take an anti-depressant. What will a multivitamin and Ginkgo Biloba do? My primary concern is that this could be a symptom of something nasty like a brain tumor or something. Is this a possibility? I do not need relief of symptoms as it is not causing me any problems at the moment. If it is very likely tinnitus, then I can live with this. It is very minor at the moment and could even be from an outside source.

Answered by Dr. Mehak Agarwal

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The above medications mentioned are not just antidepressants, but they help tinnitus to subside. Also, according to various research, Ginkgo Biloba plays a useful role in the same. Get the tests mentioned to rule out anything. They are basic tests. If they are suggestive of some disease, then we can proceed with other tests.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Mehak Agarwal
Dr. Mehak Agarwal

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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