Middle Ear Myoclonus- any advice? - British Tinnitus ...

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Middle Ear Myoclonus- any advice?


Hi there!

Hoping for some advice here. Last August I felt what can only be described as a trembling in my left ear.

As time as gone on this trembling because what can best be described as a spasm that I can feel and hear. Its like a continuous process of tension and relax within my ear canal with a bass like sound, similar to a car going past you with the bass turned up. I've had 3 occasions when its been appalling, like having a helicopter inside my head. Mainly it is a rumbling sound with a physical feeling, with a dull ache in my eardrum and a weird, slightly numb feeling in my left cheek.

Its so strange because if I shake my head it stops, if I plug my ear canal tightly with a finger it stops and then will slowly start to come back after maybe 10-15 seconds. And to make it even more bizarre it can go away for a week, or a few days and it will be like I have no problem at all.

So from a bit of research and a bit of gut instinct I think I have middle ear myoclonus, which is a treatable condition as I understand it. For whatever reason a muscle/tendon is making my eardrum vibrate. Now I'm currently going through ENT on the NHS and as personable they have been, I don't seem to be getting very far.

Has anybody out there suffered from this? I'm willing to seek out any avenues to get this sorted, private doctors, etc

Cheers Guys!

62 Replies

Yes I've had this for about a year...almost always at night. I had a half hour phone appointment with one if the consultants at the Tinnitus clinic in London. He said it would probably diminish and it has. I think I've realised that it's my anxiety about it that's the problem rather than the thing itself, although it's not pleasant. I had a similar experience with the NHS...not helpful..which is why I went to the Tinnitus clinic who do know about it. Good luck !

Thanks for your insight Peeweecat15! The ray of hope I have is that it randomly turns off for a week, so I know this is non-permanent but at the same time I think I may need some help to help make it disappear full stop. I'm going to try and get an appointment with an ENT/Neuro guy, maybe someone with some familiarity with this condition. Glad yours is improving.

Could you let me know who you see and whether it helps? Part of the problem is anticipating the next attack so I agree, it would be nice to know it wasn't coming back at all. I now have 3-4 weeks without it happening and then only lasting for about 20 mins...but there's always the fear it will get worse again.

Keep in touch !

Of course. I'll update with any progress.

Sounds just like me! It’s ruining me. It takes over the left side of my head. It’s like a low rumble. I hear it and FEEL it. When it’s bad I can’t hear so well, my ear feels full and pressure on the left side. It makes me feel weird, fuzzy in the head. If I go outside to a busy street, it amplifies it and my perception is out of whack, can’t tell where things are coming from. I get weeks of perfect normalcy then bam- weeks of this either mild, moderate or intense with some random normal days.

ENT isn’t sure yet. I do feel lightheaded sometimes.

Interestingly, I had a hearing test done during a bad episode and it showed low frequency hearing loss. However I also had a test when I did not have an episode and it was normal! I tried muscle relaxant flexeril and Robax, but they didn’t help. Clonazepam didn’t help.

MRI was negative for acoustic neuroma.

I go back in a month.

in reply to Rpn1

Sorry to hear you are suffering with this and that medication has not worked out. Have any of the doctors you have spoken with mentioned middle ear myoclonus? The only medication I have received so far have been steroid nasal drops, to no effect. I have tried baclofen which didn't do anything either. My theory is that because the muscle is small perhaps the meds can't target it. Do you get a weird feeling in your cheek?

in reply to Jimmittus01

Yes the ENT that saw me for a whopping 15 minutes said she had a couple theories (Menieres or Tensor tympani syndrome-which I think might be the same as myoclonus? ) she said it would take time to diagnose. I sometimes get tingling a bit down from ear to bottom jaw and lip, not my cheek exactly.

This whole issue has been almost 24/7 for the last 2 weeks, which is pretty new for me. Usually I get more breaks. Does yours seem to be affected by weather? Summer ended and it’s been raining now for the last 2 weeks. Who knows!

in reply to Rpn1

I've had it 24/7 and then for no apparent reason it will stop. Sometimes the vibration has been so strong I can feel it in my lower jaw. I'm not at the stage yet where a doctor has given a theory other than to say I have eustachian tube dysfunction which I knew I had anyway. I have an ENT appointment in October but I know I'll probably have to see another doctor privately. If this condition can disappear for a week or a few days, it's treatable. I'll try medication and if that does not work, I'll try Botox. And the full stop for me will be surgery. Regarding weather that's an interesting point. In your case it could be that damp weather may cause inflammation in your eustachian tube, which then aggravates the muscle? Just an idea. Try steaming and see what happens. Please let me know your progress.

Hello Jimmittus01

I was in conversation with you in September...just wondered how you're getting on ? Have you enquired about Botox?

Mine was a lot better until this week when I flew to Barcelona...not sure if it's the flight or what. Am very disappointed. It's so hard to get to the bottom of this.

Hello Jimmittus01

Not sure if my post to you has been sent, so will try again. We spoke in September when mine was a lot better but has worsened this week after a flight to Barcelona. Not sure if it's the flight or what. Have you enquired about Botox? Do you know any ENT's who do this?


Hi Peeweecat15,

Good to hear from you but sorry to hear things have been not so good since your flight. Possible the pressure may have caused some problems?

I saw an ENT consultant about three weeks ago, the same one as last time on the NHS. Very professional and pleasant. I explained my symptoms again but also mentioned the feeling in my cheek. She seemed receptive to my idea that the problem could be nerve related. I have a CT scan on the left side of my face this week. I will see her again in February (which seems like a long way off). I've also got an appointment with a neurologist in Feb as an MRI revealed spots in my white matter!! Fun times.

Weird thing...every time I drink to excess the hum goes away and the left side of my face loosens. Went out last week I went out with friends and I had 2 cans of Red Stripe, one shot, one pint of John Smith's and then three pints of German Pilsners. Now I was boozed but not blitzed. I go to bed, wake up a bit muzzy headed but...silence. Now this effect lasted 3 days. My theory is the alcohol had a depressing effect on the muscles. Do I want to get boozed up to get silence all the time? Not really but yet again proves there is something going on here. And this happens every time after large alcohol consumption.

P.s Got the name of a guy in Harley Street who seems to have a good grounding in Middle Ear Myoclonus, happy to pass it one to you. I think he have may done the operation to sever the muscle, don't know if he does the botox. Any doctor with some experience in this will start with medication.

Hello Jimmittus

Sorry I didn't reply to this...I have only just received your reply to my last message. How are you? Who would have thought ears could be so troublesome.

My myoclonus hasn't settled since coming back from Spain..it was pounding away for 8 hours last night.

Yes, I would be grateful for the name of the guy in Harley St....finding people who know about this is difficult.

Let's hope that 2019 brings solutions for both of us !

Hi Peeweecat15!

Good to hear from you. Yes, this condition is a bit of a bastard, no doubt about it. The last few days mine has been appalling after a very good period. If I get a bit boozed it switches of for about a week if I'm lucky! For that period of time I'm normal and it's quite wonderful.

So the name of the guy is Gerald Brookes, he operates out of two clinics in Harley Street. From what I've read he has all the credentials and a bit of solid experience in this area. I've got two appointments coming up and if I draw a blank I'll be heading to Harley Street.

Does alcohol have any effect on your condition?

All the best for 2019. I'll keep you updated and please let me know how you get on. I think we can get this gone, it's just a matter of how

Hi Jimmittus

Thanks for your reply and I will google Gerald Brookes later...have you spoken to him or has your info come from the internet?

It's good to be in touch with someone who has this as it's so unusual that people just stare at me blankly when I talk about it.

I think I had the opposite effect with alcohol. I don't drink much but had a large glass of wine before Xmas and an hour later my ear started banging. May have been coincidence but I blamed the wine.

What I hate about this is the unpredictability and unanswered question's. It was so much better before I went to Barcelona but I don't want the fear of it to stop me travelling.

Anyway, keep in touch.

Hey Guys,

i join this chat forum because it seems to me ,you are affected by the similar symptoms like me and suffering from this rare condition (by the way i am from Germany). My symptoms as mentioned are very similar to yours , but i get this fluttering in my left ear only in the night whilst falling a sleep or shortly before waking up in the morning. So its a very annoying issue which disturbs and deters me from having a healthy sleep. Taking in consideration the fact that my job is very challenging , i am struggling with this "illness" without a clear idea how to win this battle without most radical method - a surgery of middle ear muscules. It all started 4 years ago and came from nowhere. First it was single knocking like every couple of seconds but then the noise transformed and currently sounds like machine gun shots continuing between 5-15 seconds and lasting for 15-20 Minutes until the body gets tired of and falls asleep somehow. What is also very frustrating is the noise sometimes appears middle in the night what causes sleepless nights in the end...I so far tried relaxants which didnt help. What seems to help is Carbamazepin so obviously its nerve issue and probably caused by anxiety. I indeed went through a very hard time before the symptoms appeared for the first time like divorce and getting my study finished. Jimmittus described the situation with alcohol what i partly can confirm but only up to a certain degree. Everytime i drink alcohol, my body falls asleep sooner so the fluttering does not have the chance to begin in the first place. Nevertherless what i could recognise is everytime i woke up fot the toilette or any other reason and went back to the bed, the fluttering immediatly was triggered on and got even worse.

Here are some findings regarding what keeps the fluttering away or makes it worse:

1) positive things

- high water consume in the evening

- listening to the music or another sounds (like waterfall) whilst falling asleep

2) negative things

- salt, sugar or spicy stuff in the evening

- tea or coffee

- fatty food like duck , pork or any other fat stuff containing a high percentage of fat in it

As there is only one definite thing to stop this fluttering which is a surgery, i started to take antiepileptika the one last time for a month to get this symptom calmed down. But the longterm and daily intake of this medication is not an option for me so if its going to start twitching after taking meds once again, the accomplishment of surgery seems unfortunately to become unavoidable.

Please keep us up to date and write here if there is something new you experienced or get done by the doctor

Stay healthy


Hi Sergej,

Great to hear from you. I really appreciate your experience and information- very helpful. The doctor I saw last suggested I may need Carbamazepine and seeing that your symptoms are almost identical to mine this gives me hope. I also wonder in my case whether tension in my jaw (TMJ) may play a part? Also on the subject of alcohol, I think for me just as important is the ambient noise in the bar. The chatter, etc seems to aid the calming effect. To wake up to silence is wonderful and something I will never tire of.

I see a Neurologist this Tuesday and I will mention all of this to them. Like you Segej, if surgery is the only way to truly end this condition I will do it, I'm tired of this bloody thing! I won't get on a plane with my ear like this, so at the moment international travel is off the table.

I will update on progress and please let me know how things are for you. Peeweecat15 is also having the same trouble.

stay positive


Hi . I know this thread is old , but hopefully someone will read this , myoclonus does respond to alcohol, I have myoclonus dystonia and used to self medicate until I ended up in trouble with alcohol, anyway long story short I had DBS surgery 5 year ago, it helped the myoclonus but I suffer bad with MEM middle ear myconus and it's awful, I also have it in my soft pallet at the back and that clicks all night , so I have knocking in my ear and clicking in my throat and none of it is fun , also you do get ear pain with it

Helli Sergrj and Jimmitus

Will be interested to know how you get on with your consultation Jimmitus.

Sergej, you say that surgery is the only choice but have you considered botox?

Like you, mine is nearly always at night but I have taught myself to sleep through it by lying on the affected side and imagining I'm on a fast train. Daft,I know, but it works.

At the moment, mine has quietened down but like you Jimmittus, I don't want to go on a plane as it affected it before.

Keep in touch.


How have you been lately?!

Jimmittus :0)

Hi Jimmittus

Sorry to hear that you haven't had much joy from your latest ENT appointment. Surely all ENT'S should know about middle ear myoclonus...it's rare but not that rare.

Mine has settled down a bit but not as much as before I went to Barcelona. I have it on average every 8 days, nearly always at night, sometimes lasting a few hours, sometimes only 20 mins. It's the unpredictability that I find difficult. What is your pattern?

Do let me know if you visit the guy in Harley St...I think with this we have to go to the top ...regional ENT'S don't seem to know as much about it.

I did find talking by phone to the consultant at the Tinnitus clinic in London helpful, Mark Williams I think he was called. He knew exactly what I was talking about and said botox was a possibility which reassured me.


Glad you've had a bit of relief here and there, it really helps. I seem to get this 24/7 for maybe 3 weeks and then get a week off. It will either turn itself off or a bit of alcohol will do the trick. I get this sinking feeling that the neurologist is not going to know what I'm talking about when I say a spasm is happening the other side of my ear drum. I said this to the guy before and he looked a bit blank and then said "probably a bit of eustachian tube dysfunction"...groan

I think you are absolutely right, you need to talk with someone who has at the very least heard about this condition. May consider this tinnitus clinic idea, thanks for that info. Plus liked your idea of imagining being on a high speed train, good technique, I'm using it.

Will update again soon!

Hello Jimmittus 01

Just wondered if you have had any joy with finding treatment?

I'm trying to work on the anxiety that I feel around it ...why does it make me anxious when it's not painful. Nevertheless, it would help to know that there's a definite treatment if I wanted it.

Hi Peeweecat

Always nice to hear from you.

I've actually just contacted the PA for Dr.Brookes in Harley Street regarding the guide costs for a consultation and any treatment on the day (£250 consultation up to £700 for tests, etc). Its a hefty lump of money, but I've got to try this avenue. I'm waiting on some test results today from Neurology, once I have these I'll book my appointment. Last week was great because all my symptoms went away, of course they came back but it gave me a rest. When they do go away I think "that's it, I'm healed!" but alas no. But its a hopeful sign, if something can go away, even for a little while then its treatable I think.

re:anxiety I understand exactly how you feel. Something has invaded your body and your mind, so of course it will make you feel anxious. When this whole horrible episode started for me, it wrecked me. Looking back now I can see that some of the things going on, were to do with an underlying brain issue (but I didn't know that then). I would suggest having a watch of Julian Cowan Hill's videos on Youtube, these have been a great help to me. I've actually met him, a calm and kind individual who really put me at ease when I was feeling particularly low. He suffered with appalling tinnitus for a long time but was able to get rid of it via his own techniques. There are some very effective techniques in those videos that might help in the short term, certainly with your anxiety.

You won't have this condition forever and try and visualise yourself in the future without it, that's what I focus on. I'll let you know the outcome of this appointment, I also might get some accupuncture in the next few weeks.

All the vesy best,


Thanks so much for your reply and I look forward to hearing the results of your consultation.

Mine is absent more than it's present so I ask myself...why the anxiety? I think it's fear of it getting worse because it's such an unpredictable little monster!

Will looj on YouTube for videos you mention.

Good luck!

Hi Peeweecat,

Hope all is going well for you.

Just to say I had an appointment with Dr.Brookes just over two weeks ago. Really knowledgeable and personable guy. Incredibly thorough. I got a diagnosis of middle ear myoclonus. Great to finally get confirmation of something I've known for a while.

I've been given a prescription for amytriptaline. I'm going to give myself 2 months to see if this helps. I wouldn't hesitate to go back and see him. I want to pursue the medication route but would have the surgery for sure. Meanwhile I'm going to investigate TMJ massage as well as acupuncture. I think the condition is getting better as I'm getting a week here and there where I don't have a problem at all. I think I have triggers too, I recently got an underground train and I'm sure this aggravated my ear. I'm going to wear earplugs on the underground now.

Let me know how you are getting on


Hi Jimmittus

Good to hear from you...I was wondering how you were getting on.

Did the consultant say what causes it and did he say that it often gradually stops happening? Did he mention anything about botox or the operation and does he perform these himself?

Mine has settled down a bit...recently had an 18 day break which was wonderful but disappointing when it then comes back.

Interesting about your underground trigger...I wonder if it has anything to do with pressure because flying made mine worse after it was getting so much better. Can't see myself flying in the forseeable future.

Sorry for all the questions and thanks for keeping in touch.

I'm always happy to answer your questions. Dr.Brookes suggested stress as a potential reason, jaw tension. He also noted my neurological situation as a possible cause. He did say that he performs the operation and it's fairly straightforward. He said he would do it as a "last resort". He didn't mention Botox, though I imagine there are clinics in the UK who do it.I would certainly have it done and surgery also. He also noted my intolerance for loud noise. I've never been able to deal with sirens, etc. When I had a pressure test done at the clinic, they played a tone in my left ear (problem ear) and the right ear did not like it at all! It started to tremor.

I'm going to wear earplugs on the underground for a while and will see if this helps. And until this condition is fixed I'm not getting on a plane. The thought alone is off putting to me.

Anyhow I'm feeling positive, getting somewhere at last. And my situation is much better than it was. My ear is being irritating today, but I know it will turn off in the next few days. Just think in your case if it can go for 2 weeks, chances are good that you can shift it permanently.

When I've undertaken some acupuncture and TMJ massage I'll update on the outcome. Keep me updated on your appointments and how you get on.

Best Wishes as always


Thank you so much. It's good to know that there is a definite solution to this ..surgery...if all else fails. I'll be interested to know how the amatryptyline goes.

Good luck.

Hi Jimmittus

Just wondering how you're getting on with your various treatments.

I'm having a bad spell at the moment and feeling quite despondent. So fed up with the random nature of this and the whole roller coaster ride of it all.

I'll give it a bit longer to see if it improves and if not will probably follow you to Gerald Brookes!



Hi Peeweecat,

Always great to hear from you, but I'm sad that you've been going through a tough time with it. I know exactly what you are saying! I had it appallingly for 3 weeks straight, no let up at all, day and night. For the last 3 days I haven't had it and it is paradise, it reminds me how living is without this condition.

Frustratingly I don't think Amitriptyline is working for me, certainly not in the 20mg dose. I'm going to see my GP week after next to see if I can get a higher dose, or a different medication. I'm now in the position that I know more about this condition than most of the doctors I see!

Also have a think about what vitamins and minerals you are taking in, have you had a blood test at all? Magnesium has been known to help with MEM, I'm a bit on the fence with that, but I've been taking it anyway. I'm probably physically the most healthy I've been and it took this whole depressing scenario to get that to happen. So have a think about supplementation. I've had acupuncture too which was weird and interesting, there is absolutely something in this manipulation of nerves. When the needles were placed in my face and jaw I could feel a vibration above my left eye! I have also had some TMJ massage, it certainly loosened by jaw but I also looked like I'd been in a fight as one side of my face was swollen.

I would absolutely go and see this guy in Harley Street, don't be sat there suffering for too long, its not good for your mind. Its expensive, but it is worth it. This is a stepping stone to get this fixed. When I have it bad, if you could book me in for the operation tomorrow, I'd have it done. I am determined to get this MEM fixed by the end of the year. It is encouraging that you get days of silence as do I. Focus on that! You will beat this, but it will just take some time. Let me know how you get on in the next few weeks right?!

As ever I wish you well and a nice bit of peace and quiet :)


Hi Peeweecat,

How are you getting on? You had it bad when you last wrote. I had a week and a half of no symptoms and then it came back. It seems to do this. Amitriptyline is sadly not doing very much for me. Going to see if I can be prescribed Carbamazepine or a low dose of Clonazepam by the GP. If no joy back to Harley Street, I want this condition dealt with by the end of the year. The left side of my face feels like its been injected with something, very unpleasant. I guess on the plus side I have a week of normality...wish it would last.

Give me an update when you have the time ;-)


Hi Jimmittus

Good to hear from you.

Mine is still the worst it's been...am in the process of making an appointment with the consultant you saw, probably on 1st July. I might just have an initial consultation first of all because , and I know this sounds crazy, I'm afraid of the tests making it worse, especially the pressure test and the suction test...are they very invasive

? The reason I think this is because it only took one 2 hour flight to Barcelona to put these ear issues from almost gone to really bad so it's made me wary of intervention.

If yours were like mine, which is just happening at night time and at worst approximately every other night and at best 2-3 week gaps, would you bother with the treatment that you're considering?

I ask this because I often wonder if I 'm just being a wimp and should just get on with it... after all it doesn't hurt and I have taught myself to sleep through it. Would be interested in your thoughts. Hope all this makes sense. Do let me know how you get on with the other meds you're considering.

Best wishes


I'm sorry to hear that it's been so bad. But I'm glad to hear you've decided to have a consultation. And no I don't think you are crazy nor a wimp, far from it.

Before you have any test you will have an initial chat and I'd raise any concerns regarding the tests with him. I didn't find them too invasive, though my right ear (good ear) didn't particularly like one test and I had a bit of pain for a few seconds. It would appear I have cochlear recruitment in that ear.

You ask some very valid questions. Though I think I'd still want to get this fixed. We've both got something that has invaded our heads which we didn't ask for. And we've both obviously developed some good coping mechanisms. You may find that after a short course of medication it goes away! I'm hopeful it will for you. You may never get to the stage of anything more drastic.

Please let me know how you get on at your consultation. And I will update after I see the GP and hopefully try a different medication.

All the very best


Thanks Jimmittus and good luck!

Hi Jimmittus

Just wondering how you're getting on and to give you an update on my situation.

I didn't go to see the consultant in the end...I decided to wait to see if it would settle down again and it has. I've had 4 weeks free of it which is the longest ever but I'm not complacent because I've had breaks before and it's always come back.

I don't know if this has anything to do with it but I've been taking a multi vitamin and mineral tablet (Centrum) for the past few weeks. Interestingly, I had also been getting leg cramps and they have stopped too so I'm wondering if I was short of some important vitamin/mineral which aids muscle function. It wouldn't be magnesium as I've tried that before with no success.

Anyway, I'll be interested to hear how you're getting on and whether different medication helped.



Hi Peeweecat,

Always good to hear from you and even better to hear that you've had 4 weeks of relief. What a result! I hope it lasts. In any event, enjoy it.

I did go and see the GP but that was a waste of time. The two who I saw previously were helpful and rather interested in my case. This one was a bit obstructive and said she'd need to contact my specialist before she tried me on another medication. I guess they have rules but I did detect she didn't like the fact I knew more about MEM that she did!

Very interested to hear you may have got an improvement through supplementation. I'm on a manner of vits and I too have had little difference with magnesium.

Now I've tried something which sounds bizarre but it's actually making a difference. I noticed that whenever I go to a concert (wearing earplugs) I have a day or perhaps a week of normality. I speculated that perhaps the vibrations were pacifying the inner ear muscle. So I took this further. I have a sonicare toothbrush. I put a foam earplug on the end and started working the area around my ear and cheek. I used it for 5 minutes and then...silence. The effect lasted 2 hours. I then tried the technique again and got an hour of silence.

So I'm now doing this 3 times a day, for 5 minutes. The noise stops but it does return, but this is working. We shall see. I'm still going to head back to Harley Street to review my options and will let you know.

If I don't write you before, if you make it to 2 months will you let me know? I'll be double happy if this happens. People need positive outcomes.

As ever best wishes,


That's amazing! Isn't it strange how we come across things that help by accident?

Keep me updated and I will too.


Hello Jimmittus

Just wondered how you're doing and to give you an update on me.

I had nearly 8 weeks of silence before it came back ( why why why ?!) and then another nearly 3 week break. At the moment it's happening every night but I have to keep reminding myself that it will stop again because I never believe it at the time !

How are you? Have you been back to Harley St?

Have a feeling that this is something I have to learn to accept...been over 2 years now.



Hi Peeweecat,

As ever good to hear from you! 8 weeks is a fantastic achievement and shows, that just maybe this condition is phasing itself out for you. I know its a heartbreaker when it comes back though :( But it will stop again, without a doubt.

Its puzzling as to what makes it re-appear. But I see this condition much like getting a twitch in your eye, you may get that through stress, lack of sleep or for NO apparent reason.

I've been very well :-) Two weeks of silence which is a first since August 2017 and your guess as to why is as good as mine. It just seemed to happen. I'm prepared for it coming back though, I've learnt you have to be. Not being negative, just realistic. I've been enjoying this break though. Listening to music without interruption, being able to concentrate on films, tv. Normal life. I went out drinking with a good friend the other day, got horrendously drunk (which I never do). I was sick from about 3-5am, but as I was vomiting I thought "This is appalling, but at least I haven't got that awful noise in my head".

One thing I have been getting, very rapid drumming as I lay my head down. Lasts maybe two minutes then stops. Both ears do that (which is new). I will happily take this over bass noise for days on end. So I haven't been back to Harley Street yet, though I probably will realistically. The last time I saw him he wanted to rule out Cochlear Hydrops and prescribed a medication for that, which didn't do anything for me. I understood his position, wanting to be certain. Both times I've been there he's wanted to be able to hear my ear noise, but no one has ever heard it apart from me! I reckon though if you put a small mic in my ear, it would pick it up. A very helpful person sent a link to a paper on this condition in this chat. Written by a Dr. Bance based in Cambridge, looking like maybe the most knowledgeable expert on MEM in the UK. I did think about maybe a visit to him, but the whole thought of starting again, just put me off.

I have been under neurology on the NHS as well, I have damage to my white matter. I think this is down to a severe lack of B12 over maybe a year (2016-2017), though the professional I saw couldn't be certain. I spoke to him about middle ear myoclonus and that it is partly a neurological disorder, but he'd never heard of it. Its easy to get frustrated. I've been taking B12 since maybe early 2017 and have got my dose up to 5,000 mcg and I feel this has made a real impact and I wonder how much of this MEM has been caused by this neurological situation? Lots of questions Peeweecat and not that many answers.

Sorry, this has been an essay! But I'm so pleased to hear you've had extended periods of time with silence. You will have this again. I'm on a "wait and see" at the moment, will let you know what happens next.

Best Wishes


Hi Peeweecat,

Been a little while. How is your situation? Had nearly 13 weeks without an issue! Then the bast*rd thing comes back.

I think that amount of time is significant. Hopeful to get this beaten in 2020.

As ever, all the best


Hello . I suffer from myoclonus dystonia , I had DBS surgery 5 year ago for the general myoclonus, but for around 3 years I have had this horrible MEM and also in my soft pallet at the back of my mouth , it clicks all the time ,

When I see my neurologist I'm going to have to ask about treatment because it does my head in .

Myoclonus always responds to alcohol but don't do like me and try self medicate because I ended up drinking far too much and in big trouble.

Just thought I would tell you that it is a bummer .

I go to the Walton centre in Liverpool they are great .

Hi All,

I've been struggling with middle ear myoclonus for the past 7 months too. It started a few days after a flight (may or may not be connected) and a day after a really stressful afternoon. I actually woke with hearing loss which returned after a couple of days. Since then I've had intermittent buzzing in my left ear, mainly after I vocalise or hear a loud noise. I also get what feels like electrically charged headaches and brief dizziness. I've had an MRI scan to rule out anything sinister and that was clear. This past couple of weeks the buzzing has been non stop so I'm off to see an ENT Consultant next week. Like you, Jimmitus, I won't be getting on a flight with this so we're off to Portugal by sea in April! (Just as well my husband likes road trips!). I've also made an appointment to try acupuncture as I've read this thing could be stress/anxiety related so anything to help the muscles relax. I'll let you know how I get on.


Good to hear from you but sorry to hear you are struggling with this unpleasant condition. I would be very interested to hear how you get on with the acupuncture, as I have also heard it has been used as a treatment for this. I've been getting a bit of vertigo sitting down lately, that's a new thing. How much does a acupuncture session cost?

I had a consultation with an NHS ENT consultant on Feb 1st, the one I had seen previously. The end result, we can't help you at the moment but as you are under Neurology, we are kicking the ball over to them to see if they can help. The ENT consultant did seem to agree with my assessment that I have some kind of spasm going on. I am having lots of tests with Neurology because I have lesions in my white matter, which can mean a few different things. I'm due to see a consultant in September, which is just too long, so I'm making an appointment to see a guy in Harley Street (who I have named in a previous post). I have BUPA but I think I'm going to have to pay, but I think I am beyond caring. The fact that this condition turns itself off every now and then gives me hope and I want my life back!

Keep me updated.

Hi Jimmittus,

I also have Bupa and have been using it all along for consultations regarding this. I haven't had a problem at all, they've been quite happy to cover it. I saw an ENT Consultant in the beginning with a follow up appointment. Next I saw a Neurologist who referred me to a clinical scientist for vestibular tests which indicated I have 20% paralysis in the nerve of the troublesome ear as well as the myoclonus. This scientist has now referrred me back to an ENT Consultant but now armed with more information about what's going on inside my ear so hopefully I might get somewhere next week when I see him. If I'm no better after this, I'm also thinking of trying the Harley Street guy mentioned in previous posts so please let me know how you get on if you decide to see him.

I've read that this type of muscle spasm/vibration is is more common (although still rare) in people who can voluntarily move their inner ear muscles i.e. By forcefully closing your eyes etc. I can do this. In fact, I can make mine spasm just by squeezing/flexing my ears so I'm not sure if I'm unusual in this and maybe this, along with anxiety, is why I'm having this problem.

The cost of acupuncture where I'm going is £35 per session. I'll let you know how I get on.


Thanks for that info. And how fascinating, because I can manipulate my ears in the same way, since I was a kid! Yes, let me know the outcome of the acupuncture


I had surgery on the NHS 2 weeks ago. They cut one muscle. It hasn't worked. It has reduced the severity, but I'm a bit disappointed that it hasn't stopped it completely. Back in to see the surgeon in two weeks. The earwig drummer has returned. 'Boo!'

Earwigdrummer! Sorry to hear that, what muscle did they section? Looks like one may still be active then. Didn't know you could get this operation done on the NHS, that's food for thought. Let me know the outcome of your next consultation.

yes, almost the same as I have ,even down to the type of noise, went to expensive dentist who says its caused by night grinding and I paid £160 for a gun shield which is so painful on my teeth that I cant use it also suggested mjd or some other mix of letters but your belief sounds like the right one as using a shield makes the fuzziness and ear pain worse, also this last month my other ear has blocked with pain and irritation so now both ears are affected I describe it as having a hangover even down to the intolerance of noise and dull headache

Hi Rocksan,

Sorry to hear you are having a hard time with this, I hope you find some of the information and experiences featured here useful.

Best of luck!


Hi all,

Have read all the posts with interest. Thought at one stage is was just me but glad to know others (unfortunately) suffer as I do and it's not all in my head.

I too suffer from near constant clicking, machine-gun like sounds in both ears. Seen an ENT specialist (Heart of England NHS) - they could hear the clicking from my ears even though they were sitting a metre from me and had various specialist ear tests.

So far they have said I have bilateral middle ear myoclonus. Also can feel myself breathe through my left eustation tube - a weird sensation. My hearing is not affected but this near constant clicking is more than annoying - drives me round the bend at times. Occassionally I get ringing in my ears for a short while, or pain.

Booked in for a brain scan to make sure it's still there:)

Came across this post from Cambridge University Hospital which may be of interest.


Lets hope we can all find some relief or cure for this very annoying ailment.


Thanks for posting and also for the very interesting article.

It would seem those who suffer from this condition have variations in their symptoms. Did yours come on all of a sudden or was it gradual? At least you are at the point of diagnosis now. Are you on any medication for the MEM?

I can absolutely understand your frustration! Psychologically is like carrying a weight, it just dominates my head when its bad. As you have a diagnosis what is the next move for you? I too have had an MRI of my brain which revealed white matter lesions, I think this was due to having a low level of B12 in my body for a long, long time. I have a follow up appointment with Neurology in September. People would seem to get MEM for a variety of reasons.

I am considering surgery for MEM which from all the material I have read and watched would appear to be fairly low risk and in most cases an end to the noise and other symptoms. I think if I go for this, its going to be both muscles being cut just to be sure.

This forum has been a great comfort and also a source of information for me. Currently I'm trying magnesium oil and DMSO around my ear and cheek, I've read some things on this helping calm and reducing inflammation in muscles and nerves. Worth a go!

best wishes


Hi Jinmittus01,

I started having these problems in March 2018 following a very bad bout of bronchitis which I was almost hospitalised for. Of course they just thought it was symptoms left over from that. But they persisted and repeated visits to the GP followed.

I am not currently on any medication although nasel drops were tried before being referred to a community consultant, then the local hospital and then onto the main hospital within the group in Birmingham.

Saw another ENT consultant last week - the third in total. Having had all sorts of hearing/ear/pressure/camera up the nose tests, the diagnosis to date is bilateral middle ear myoclonus. The consultant offered surgery but as he said there was a risk of facial paralysis, that is not an option. He also mentioned Botox (short term fix) which I don't fancy. Then suggested hypnosis, yoga/mediation (basically relaxation techniques) and also acupuncture.

Mentioned to my GP some medications, 5-HTP (Holland & Barrett) as a serotoin enabler which may possibly help - who knows, and the prescription medicaton, carbamazepin thought might help as it is used to relax the nerves as in epilepsy but suggested I talk to the consultant about it. Worth a google for yourself in any case.

Then on thinking about it, I wonder if in fact it is a jaw problem at the root of the issue. I had my jaw dislocated as a teen for impacted wisdom teeth removal, and then in my mid twenties went suddenly deaf in my left ear! Seems it was caused by grinding my teeth at night and a dental guard fixed the problem.

I am now wondering if all the coughing from the bronchitis put my jaw out of alignment.

In the past I have had Bowen Therapy (fantastic therapy) and they have had me opening and shutting my mouth wide while holding my jawbone by the ear. Makes me think my jaw was being realigned. So now I wonder whether this is the problem?

Going to also look into TMJ therapy. You never know, it might help. Not one for operations if I can avoid and prefer natural therapies to medication.

I'll look into the supplements you mention, magnesium is known as the body's relaxor so that makes sense. Might be worth you taking it in tablet form as your body may be deficient in it. Know nothing about DMSO so will google it.

Best wishes,


Thanks for all that info, very helpful.

I had some TMJ massage a few months back and it certainly relieved tension, it did make my face swollen for a few days though. I think what I've learnt through this whole sorry situation is that MEM can be caused by a combination of factors and it's worth attacking all of them in the hope that it shifts this thing. Thanks for reminding me about 5-HTP, I've got some in a drawer. I worked with a guy who raved about this supplement, so will revisit it.

Do let me know how you get on with the brain scan, etc and also if you get any improvement. This thread is helpful in lots of ways and the information exchange is very valuable. This condition can be pretty dreadful but it can disappear on its own and it does seem to respond to treatment, both of these outcomes keep me positive.

Best wishes,


Hi Jimmittus01 and all, I’m new to this forum. I have been diagnosed with MEM in my left ear a couple of months back after developing tinnitus in July. I can’t lie on my left ear or itch/put my finger down it without triggering the fluttering. It also happens randomly for half a second to a second at a time. It has slightly improved over the past 5/6 months but it has never gone away for even a day. I read somewhere that most cases go away in about a year. Just wondering how everyone is getting on? If mine hasn’t gone away I think I’ll get the surgery. Saw an ENT at the NHS and he said he thought the surgery could make me more sensitive to noise? This condition is stressful and strange!! Hope you all are doing well??

Hi AnnaJ83,

Good to hear from you and sorry to hear you are dealing with this unpleasant condition. I'm pleased at the very least you've had a diagnosis which puts you a step closer to getting rid of this. Mine started coming on in 2017.

I recently had a period of 13 weeks without ANY symptoms. But, alas it came back just before Xmas which was a bit of a downer. I really did start to think I'd been healed. But the takeaway here is that this condition can go into remission. What I've learnt is that MEM has one foot in neurology and one in ENT.

This year I started taking high levels of vitamin B12 and I feel this has made a difference. B12 is essential for proper nerve function and I've been taking 5,000 MCG per day. I've since had more periods of silence. In my case I think there is the possibility that the trigeminal nerve or a cranial nerve is dysfunctional for whatever reason, I think this is maybe why symptoms ease for a short while after a hot shower?

I'm at the point where I want it gone in 2020 and I will do whatever necessary. Going to get an NHS referral because if it comes to surgery I can't afford it privately, I'd have to go to Poland or Hungary. I've read people have had successful experiences having had it. I guess there could be some sound sensitivity but I think I'll take that over the awful staccato bass I get!

Give the B12 thing a go, you've got nothing to lose. Your body with just get rid of any excess, try maybe 1,000mcg per day and see how you go?

Keep in touch on here!


Jimmittus x

Hi Jimmittus

Have been wonderful how you've been getting on. So frustating for you to have it gone for so long and for it then to come back. At least you know it can go and will probably do so again. It would be wonderful to know what triggers it to start and then to stop. I have considered all sorts of things from caffeine, stress to weird things like wifi and phases of the moon!! None of the above have proved right, needless to say.

Mine is now in the pattern of about 14 nights off and then 1 on , which is the best it's been since I flew to Barcelona last year (the flight definitely disturbed it). If it stayed like that I'd be ok but it's such an unpredictable little devil that I don't trust it not to change to something worse.

Are you going to take further action?..seems the only way to get rid of it permanently is surgery.

Please keep in touch and I hope this will soon be something in the past for you.


What a strange cycle you have with it. I too wish I knew of a definitive trigger. Very pleased you get days of quiet.

Since this started I've read as much as I can on this topic and the only conclusion I've come to is that a facial or head nerve must play a role, in my case anyhow. I did get a Jubilee Line train about a month ago and my ear hated it! Noise and pressure. I got home and it was troubling me. Went to bed and woke absolutely fine. But any such travel I will wear earplugs. God only knows when I'll get on a plane again?! I just won't do it

Yes, surgery seems like the full stop. Going back to the GP, try another referral. Two or three more medications to try. B12 has definitely led to some improvement. Might be worth considering?

Please keep in touch. Wishing you a good 2020. Fingers crossed we get this sorted!


Hi Jimmittus

Just wondering how you are and whether there has been any improvement?

Mine is following the same pattern...there seems to be no trigger as far as I can tell. I do think that the line between it happening and not happening is a very thin one but I'd love to know what tips ot over the edge.

I'm less obsessed with it than I used to be because I do get long breaks but it's always an underlying fear that it will get worse.

For that reason, I can't see myself flying again which is sad but good for the environment I guess!

Peeweecat, always a pleasure to hear from you.

I'm much the same as I ever am, after a near 3 month rest. More and more though I think this condition for me is related to neurology and the nerves in my head and perhaps my body generally. I do wonder what was the kick starter and indeed why it comes and goes? I am a very twitchy person, as I'm writing this my eyes are twitching. I get twitches every day.

The ear was being particularly bad these last weeks so I went into the GP and explained the situation. She agreed that this is possibly a nerve condition, my left cheek often looks swollen and some people who know me well say I sometimes lisp (which I am not aware of). I am always theorising, could it be the nerve in my cheek, my jaw or maybe a cranial nerve? She's written to the neurology department to hurry up my appointment, though I'm not overly hopeful. When I do go though I'm going to lay it all out and I'm going to demand investigation and medication. When I have this condition bad, it really is torture. I looked ill a few weeks ago.

Now something absolutely helped me the other day, no question and its something I stumbled on. I've read enormous amounts on this subject and the kind of medication that can possibly help. I have only been prescribed Amitriptyline and Betahistine dihydrochloride privately, neither of which did a bloody thing! Now I've read how tranquilisers can calm this condition, not something you can just go out and buy. Phenergan however is an old antihistamine, which helps with insomnia and is a mild sedative. The other day I took 50mg, went to bed and woke up to SILENCE. The effect lasted for 48 hours. That is all the proof I need. So I'm going to tell the neurologist that. Would it work for you? You can but try and when you get desperate you'll try just about anything, because I know that feeling. God knows when I'll get on a plane again, I just will not do it. Its all UK breaks for me, which is no bad thing.

I'm glad you get days of peace and quiet, concentrate on that. Have a think about the Phenergan, its fairly safe. You could try 25mg before bed. It makes you a bit thirsty the next morning and slightly docile.

Let me know how you get on!

As ever, all the very best to you

Jimmy :-0)

Hi is phenergan available to buy over the counter still? I used to use it years ago to calm my children before long flights.



Hi Ingrid,

It may be behind the counter and you have to ask for it. I bought mine online without any problems.



Hi Jimmittus

Thanks for your reply to my message which didn't come to my inbox so have only just found it.

Very interested anout the Phenergan....it would be wonderful to find something which works on as 'as needed' way...a bit like paracetamol with a headache. I hope it continues to work for you and that you find a permanent solution.

It's been so helpful to find other people with this, especially you.

Keep in touch and good luck!

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