What is Pulsatile Tinnitus?

If you have a “whooshing” or “thumping” sound in one or both of your ears that follows a steady rhythm, you may have pulsatile tinnitus also known as rhythmic, vascular, or pulse-synchronous tinnitus.

What is Pulsatile Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ear that doesn’t come from an outside source, like a ringing or swooshing sound. Pulsatile tinnitus is a rarer form where people hear sounds in time with their heartbeat.

What Causes Pulsatile Tinnitus?

Compared to normal tinnitus, it’s more likely that an exact cause can be identified for pulsatile tinnitus. Most cases are caused by a change in the blood flow of the vessels near the ear, in the neck or head. This can happen for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to):

  • Strenuous exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications
  • Severe iron deficiency (anaemia)

Another cause of pulsatile tinnitus is an increased awareness of the blood flowing near the ears. This might happen if you have an ear condition that blocks outside noise and makes you more aware of internal sounds, including things like “glue ear,” a perforated eardrum or impacted earwax.

Symptoms of Pulsatile Tinnitus

You might notice symptoms of pulsatile tinnitus if you also have high pressure in the fluid around your brain (brain swelling) this is a condition called idiopathic intracranial hypertension. These symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing loss

NOTE: We recommend you check in with your healthcare professional if you suffer from any of these symptoms.

Hearing, Balance & Speech is Here to Help You through All Aspects of Hearing Loss

If you suspect you have tinnitus or hearing loss and would like to speak with one of our experienced hearing care professionals, please contact us at Hearing, Balance & Speech to schedule an appointment. We are here for you, to help with all aspects of your hearing health.

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