Normal Eardrum

Normal Eardrum

The human body is a mysterious instrument. Whenever new symptoms arise—however innocuous they may appear—I try to determine their cause, if possible.

You can say it’s the influence on me of Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, in which the hero dies horribly after a trivial household mishap. (The link is to the excellent Louise and Aylmer Maude translation, which you can read if you feel that things are going too well for you.)

About two weeks ago, I detected what appears to be my left eardrum pulsating in a kind of rapid-fire flubflubflub with occasional pauses in between bursts. It does not seem to correlate with my pulse (which the physician requested that I check), and comes and goes at random intervals. Needless to say, it didn’t act up in the doctor’s office.

The good news is that it is not associated with any pain, and it does not seem to affect my hearing. The hearing in both ears is symmetrical, with me hearing all the low frequency sounds normally, but not the very high frequency sounds. So don’t attempt to summon me with a dog whistle.

Thus far, the only anomaly is that my left eardrum is slightly pushed in compared to my right eardrum. My guess is that all this is nothing to worry about, but I’d like to be sure.