Pulsatile Tinnitus is a term that refers to the amplified sound of blood circulating through your arteries. Some people are also able to hear these sounds in tandem with their heartbeat.
Pulsatile Tinnitus usually occurs when blood starts circulating in or near the ears. It is different from other types of Tinnitus in that the sound the patient of Pulsatile Tinnitus hears, is actually a physical sound. The sound is of their own blood circulating and their hearts beating.
This sound is amplified through the hearing organ malfunction inside the ears, causing the patients to experience loud sounds of functions occurring inside their body.
The ringing, buzzing, whooshing, & other sounds experienced by patients with Pulsatile Tinnitus, are actually the results of nerves picking up irregular signals from the hearing organ & transmitting the same to the brain.
Similar to other forms of Tinnitus, Pulsatile Tinnitus is also a source of annoyance and depression to most patients. In fact, Pulsatile Tinnitus anxiety is a whole condition in itself, so much so that it sometimes causes patients to lose sleep & become increasingly irritable.
In this blog, we’ll tell you about some of the Pulsatile Tinnitus symptoms, Pulsatile Tinnitus diagnosis, and Pulsatile Tinnitus treatment options.
Pulsatile Tinnitus symptoms:
The most pressing and discernible pulsatile tinnitus symptom is being able to hear a buzzing, ringing, or pounding sound inside your ears that matches the rhythm of your heart & pulse. In fact, the sound is so accurately tuned to your heartbeat that you can actually measure or take your pulse through it.
Other common pulsatile tinnitus symptoms are lightheadedness, heart palpitations, dizziness, wooziness, & occasional headaches.
If you have other worrisome symptoms like chest pain, breathlessness, heaviness in the head, excessive sweating, chills, & fever, visit your doctor or local emergency room immediately.
These could be signs of a more serious underlying condition masquerading as pulsatile tinnitus symptoms.
If alongside pulsatile tinnitus symptoms, you also start experiencing sudden tightness in the chest, pain or numbness in the left arm, trouble concentrating, hallucinations, facial numbness, or loss of consciousness, you should immediately visit the local emergency center & get a thorough evaluation.
The above could be early signs of an impending heart attack or cardiac arrest, thus timely intervention is the need of the hour to save lives.
Pulsatile Tinnitus causes:
Although there can be various Pulsatile Tinnitus causes, most of them are usually related to circulatory issues within your body.
Some of the most common Pulsatile Tinnitus causes are:
- High Blood Pressure: When a patient suffers from high blood pressure, the blood flows more forcefully through the arteries and puts more pressure on the artery walls. This increased pressure causes the blood flow around the ears to be especially noticeable to the nerves in & around the ear. This is what causes the pulsatile tinnitus sounds inside the ears.
- Atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis refers to a blockage in the arteries caused by a buildup of cholesterol, unhealthy fats, & other substances. This buildup makes the arteries’ walls thinner which leads to increased blood pressure inside them. This causes the nerves in & around the ears to pick up the sounds of the increased flow of blood in the arteries of that area, leading to pulsatile tinnitus symptoms. Your doctors will be able to diagnose Artherosclerosis as your pulsatile tinnitus cause if you hear a loud, rhythmic sound inside one of your ears.
- Irregular, turbulent blood flow: Carotid Arteries(narrowed arteries in the neck region), & the Jugular veins can sometimes change their course of blood flow to & from the brain & the inner ear. Your ears may pick up this sound from the arteries around the area and produce this as a sound inside one of the ears.
- Tumors in the head or beck region: Any kind of tumors in the head & neck region can also exert pressure on the arteries around the ear & neck area. This can cause the blood flow to be irregular in this area, leading to pulsatile tinnitus symptoms like rhythmic noises inside one of the ears.
- Abnormal or irregularities in the capillaries: Capillaries are tiny blood vessels that connect your arteries to your veins. When these capillaries display abnormal, irregular behavior, the patient may experience turbulent blood flow leading to pulsatile tinnitus symptoms like sounds & noises inside the ears.
Pulsatile Tinnitus diagnosis:
Your doctor will usually take your detailed medical history & carefully review your symptoms to understand if you actually suffer from Pulsatile Tinnitus.
They might also listen to your chest, neck, & skull with the help of a stethoscope. If they are able to hear rhythmic, pulsatile tinnitus sounds inside your ear or in any of these areas, they will diagnose you with objective pulsatile tinnitus.
However, if they aren’t able to hear any pulsatile tinnitus souls themselves, but determine that you are hearing rhythmic, pulse-like sounds in one of the ears yourself, they will diagnose you with subjective pulsatile tinnitus.
They may also recommend hearing tests to you to find out if you have been experiencing tinnitus due to some kind of hearing loss.
Other tests that your doctor might order to find out the exact pulsatile tinnitus cause include:
- Ultrasound test
- CT scans
In case your doctor diagnosis you with objective or subjective pulsatile tinnitus, they will likely also refer you to a cardiologist to look for further cardiac issues & circulatory problems. Since high blood pressure and circulation problems can easily lead to cardiac issues later on in life, it’s best to have an expert look into them before they become a health issue.
Pulsatile Tinnitus treatment:
Taking care of the exact underlying cause is often an effective pulsatile tinnitus treatment strategy.
For high blood pressure, your doctor will give you appropriate medicines and possibly some blood-thinning agents to allow blood to flow easily through arteries. They might also suggest that you change your diet to include more healthy fats & foods that help in reducing your cholesterol levels to clear up the plaque buildup inside your arteries.
Generally, taking a low-sodium diet, indulging in regular exercise, quitting alcohol usage & smoking, and participating in stress reduction activities, are effective pulsatile tinnitus home remedies, aside from medications.
In some cases, patients might need surgery to remove the excess buildup inside the arteries so that it doesn’t cause any cardiac events in the future.
Using sound masking devices and refraining from wearing in-ear headphones can also be good pulsatile tinnitus treatment options.