When blood pressure is high, blood flow through the carotid artery is more likely to be turbulent and thus cause a pulsating sound. Blood vessel disorders. A variety of malformations and disorders are occasionally the source of pulsatile tinnitus. These include a blood vessel with a weakened, bulging patch aneurysm , an abnormal connection between an artery and vein arteriovenous malformation , twisted arteries, or a benign blood vessel tumor glomus tumor behind the eardrum. If you were my patient, I would take a careful history a patient's story often holds important clues , and then examine your ears.
I would also use a stethoscope to listen to the blood flow through the arteries in your neck. If I did not find any obvious cause for your symptoms, I would likely recommend some additional testing, including a hearing test. If I heard a bruit BROO-ee — the unusual sound that blood makes when it rushes past an obstruction — in one or both carotid arteries, I would suggest you have a test to look for a narrowing in the carotid arteries or other malformations.
Most of the time, pulsatile tinnitus is nothing to worry about.
If it doesn't go away on its own after a few weeks or becomes really bothersome, talk with your doctor about it. Vernick, M. Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content.
Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Harvard Heart Letter. If you hear "heartbeat" thumping in your ear, it may be pulsatile tinnitus Updated: August 22, Published: November, Often people will be aware of their heartbeat in their ear, similar to what you describe. Sometimes, another person can hear the noise by getting very close to your ear and listening carefully.
Here’s Why You Can’t Hear Your Heartbeat | IFLScience
Or your doctor can hear it with a stethoscope. Usually pulsatile tinnitus is not a cause for concern, especially if it lasts just a short time. Similar to you, many people are more aware of it at night. However, you should contact your doctor.
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High blood pressure, ear problems and an overactive thyroid gland can cause pulsatile tinnitus. On rare occasions, pulsatile tinnitus can be a symptom of an abnormality of the carotid artery.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs. Why do I hear a heartbeat in my ears?
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