Pulsatile tinnitus

Some people may experience a thumping or whooshing sound in their ears with the same rhythm as their heartbeat. This is called pulsatile tinnitus.
Pulsatile tinnitus

What is pulsatile tinnitus?

People suffering from pulsatile tinnitus often or always hear their own pulse in their ears. So if you experience a steady beat in your ears related to your pulse, you may have pulsatile tinnitus.  

People can suffer from pulsatile tinnitus in one ear only or in both ears. In general, pulsatile tinnitus is relatively rare.

Many know the sensation of hearing your pulse from sports or other strenuous activities when they experience it briefly immediately afterwards. But for some people the sound and pulse never ceases.

Pulsatile tinnitus is different from traditional tinnitus that normally manifests itself in other ways such as ringing, hissing and buzzing noises in the ear.

Read more about tinnitus here: What is tinnitus?

What are the causes of pulsatile tinnitus?

Pulsatile tinnitus, the thumping in the ear, is often related to the blood flow in the vessels (arteries and veins) near the ears or an increased awareness of the blood flow around the ears.

There can be different possible causes for pulsatile tinnitus. Changes in the blood flow such as general increased blood flow, local increased blood flow or turbulent blood flow may be the cause. Also high blood pressure or a narrowing of a blood vessel near the ear may cause pulsatile tinnitus.

Tinnitus and stress are often connected. With pulsatile tinnitus, the effect of stress is indirect as stress can exacerbate blood pressure. But there can also be other causes of pulsatile tinnitus.

Some may only experience pulsatile tinnitus in one ear. Others only experience pulsatile tinnitus when they are lying down.

Hear tinnitus

Do you experience pulsatile tinnitus? Maybe you have another type of tinnitus as well. What do other types of tinnitus sound like? Listen to our examples of tinnitus.

How can I stop the pulsing sound in my ear?

You cannot stop or cure pulsatile tinnitus yourself.

If you experience pulsatile tinnitus, it is advisable to see an ENT doctor or another medical specialist to have your ears, blood pressure and blood vessels near the ear and general health checked. If there is a specific cause for the problem, this may be solved. In other cases, no specific cause can be identified. Many have tried to find a way to cure tinnitus of any type, but so far there has not been found a scientifically proven solution.

Pulsatile tinnitus can be alleviated as the patient learns to cope with the condition, e.g. through counselling, and live a normal life.

 

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