Tinnitus may manifest itself in other ways than the familiar ringing, hissing and buzzing noises in the ear. Some experience, instead, a thumping sound in the same rhythm as their heartbeat. This is called pulsatile tinnitus.
People suffering from this so-called pulsatile tinnitus often or always hear their own pulse hammering in their ear. Many know this sensation from sports or other strenuous activity where they experience it briefly immediately afterwards. But in some people the noise never ceases.
The possible reasons for this annoying and upsetting problem are many. Changes in the blood stream through veins near the ear are one. A narrowing of a vein near the ear forcing a greater blood flow through other veins is another.
In other cases the pulsatile tinnitus may result because some people are more aware than others of the noises in their bodies.
If the thumping noises in the ear become a problem, it is strongly advisable to go see a doctor who can determine if the noises are a symptom of serious physical ailments. This is quite rare, however.
As in more ordinary forms of tinnitus pulsatile tinnitus can be alleviated as the patient learns to cope with the condition and live a normal life through proper counseling and treatment.
Source: oneinseven, issue 43, 2004; 'Zur Problematik des pulsierenden Tinnitus', Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift, issue 112/2, 2000; 'Pulsatile tinnitus', Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America, issue 36, 2003
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