Odd noises coming from you hard drive is a concern. The core drive itself will make very faint noises during normal operation. But the noises we generally get called about are occurring at the same time the drive is not working. They tend to be referred to as "ticking", "clicking", "clunking" or "buzzing". A noise like this, generally indicates that something has gone wrong. Generally very wrong...
Internally on a drive, there is a mechanism known as the read/write heads. These heads read and lay the data onto the drive. They are a very delicate component and can easily be damaged if the hard drive is dropped or knocked. It's this part of the drive that is generally causing the noises you hear. The concern for us as data recovery professionals is that the drive is not only making noise, but that its causing damage as well.
The platters inside the drive are the spinning disks that literally store your data and they can become scratched or burred by damaged read write heads. If a platter becomes too scratched or burred, there is nothing we can do to recover your data. As such, any preliminary tests you may want to do at home should be minimal, so as to avoid causing irreparable damage.
Our caution is; that if a drive is making any sort of noise, regardless of its state of operation, then it needs to be seen by an experienced technician and reviewed in a specialist lab environment to determine exactly where it stands on the spectrum of damage. Drives making noise suggest serious failure and depending on how critical the data is, we suggest this is not a case to be "trying" things gleamed off the internet to recover your data. See our other articles for suggestions in different circumstances where there are things you can try. But we cannot in good faith suggest you try anything with a drive making the above noises at home.