Middle Ear Myoclonus

I thought I was hallucinating. My ear was twitching. Not the outside of my ear, which is weird enough to experience when that happens. No, it felt like my eardrum was twitching; and that isn’t possible because there are no muscles in the eardrum. Turns out, this is a thing. It’s called middle ear myoclonus (MEM) or Tensor Tympani Syndrome. I never knew it had a name before. I wouldn’t even have looked it up if a Redditor hadn’t asked the question today.

Fauquier ENTMiddle Ear Myoclonus – Irregular Clicking Sound in the Ear – May 8, 2021

Observers can hear the clicking in some cases:

JAMA NetworkObjective Tinnitus From Middle Ear Myoclonus – Jun 12, 2014

This can be the cause of tinnitus in some sufferers and can even be the cause of endolymphatic hydrops itself in others. Weird. I never would have thought that a middle ear muscle could pack a kick that hard. Reality is stranger than fiction.



If Middle Ear Myoclonus is the cause of your Meniere’s symptoms (how this is demonstrated aside from noticing the constant twitching is beyond me) then you might be a prime candidate for tenotomy of the middle ear muscles:

A statistically significant improvement of inner ear hearing levels postoperatively (p = 0.041) and a major reduction in vertigo attacks in all groups (p < 0.001) with complete absence of attacks in 26/30 patients was noted. Results remained constant up to 9 years postoperatively. Although tinnitus persisted, the intensity was lower overall (p = 0.013).


Something else I didn’t know was a thing until a Redditor used the word tenotomy in a sentence. Something else to look into, too.