Are You Hearing Your Heartbeat In Your Ear?

If you are experiencing a rhythmic thumping or thudding in either of your ears, there is a good chance you have pulsatile tinnitus. While it disrupts their peace of mind for most patients, some have trouble sleeping or concentrating. In this article you will get clear information about how to identify Pulsatile Tinnitus and how to prevent it?.

What exactly is Pulsatile Tinnitus?

Unlike the common tinnitus, it is usually benign. The affected patients hear their heartbeat in either of their ears. Often, it can indicate symptoms of any underlying disease or condition.

Symptoms of Pulsatile Tinnitus:

The most common symptom of pulsatile tinnitus is hearing a regular thumping in your ear(s). Astonishingly, the thumping sound syncs with the person’s heartbeat. The rate of thumping even increases or decreases along with the heartbeat.

One can experience pulsatile tinnitus more clearly at night due to less interference from external sounds. The pounding can be consistent or recurring. However, many people with pulsatile tinnitus do not even feel this thumping disrupting their lives.

Find the Reasons Behind Hearing Heartbeat in Your ear:

The main reasons behind hearing heartbeat in your ear is the disorders or malformations in the blood vessels and the arteries, especially those near the ears. Commonly we are calling this is pulsatile tinnitus, and its main symptom is hearing a ringing sound in your ears that usually match your heartbeat or pulse. Lets find some other main reasons behind “why your heartbeat is hearing in your ear” (Pulsatile Tinnitus).

What can cause Pulsatile Tinnitus?

In most cases, your ENT specialist can denote the cause and the underlying conditions relating to pulsatile tinnitus. Here’s a glimpse at some of the underlying conditions:

  • Atherosclerosis
    • In atherosclerosis, plaque forms inside the arteries. Thus, the canal of the arteries gets narrower, limiting the blood flow to the head, neck, and ears.  It can lead to a pounding sound in the ears – indicating pulsatile tinnitus.
  • Superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome
    • Victims of superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome can experience pulsatile tinnitus. The superior semicircular canal is one of the 3 canals situated in the inner ear’s vestibular apparatus. The temporal bone that overlaps the superior semicircular canal is unusually slender in this syndrome.
    • Thinning of bone overlying the prominent arteries can lead to hearing heart-thumping sounds in the ears.
  • Hypertension
    • A patient experiencing high blood pressure or hypertension means the flow of blood through the carotid artery is tumultuous. It leads to a thumping sound of heartbeat in the ears.
  • Blood Vessel Anomalies
    • Discrepancies in the formation of fine arteries, especially in the ears and nose, can lead to pulsatile tinnitus. Such abnormalities include arteriovenous and aneurysms malformations. In addition, such conditions can change the flow of blood through the affected blood vessels.
  • Anomalies on the sinus wall
    • The sigmoid sinus is a blood vessel on the side of the brain that carries blood from the brain’s veins. The sigmoid sinus diverticulum and dehiscence are two of these defects.

The creation of tiny pouches (diverticula) that extend through the sigmoid sinus wall into the mastoid bone behind the ear is known as the sigmoid sinus diverticulum. The absence of part of the bone that surrounds the sigmoid sinus in the mastoid is referred to as dehiscence.

These anomalies induce pressure, blood flow, and noise fluctuations within the sigmoid sinus, resulting in pulsatile tinnitus.

  • Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
    • This condition occurs when the cerebrospinal fluid pressure around the brain becomes too high. Headaches, double vision, soreness behind the eye, and pulsatile tinnitus indicate high blood pressure.
  • Tumours in the Head or Neck
    • Glomus tumours of the head and neck are benign tumours that grow from glomus cells and are locally invasive. The region of the jugular vein below the middle ear is where these tumours are most common. Glomus tumours can spread to the brain and middle ear.

These tumours can produce pulsatile tinnitus and other symptoms when they impinge on the blood arteries in the head or neck. Glomus tumours are incredibly vascular and can cause pulsatile tinnitus simply by being adjacent to the ear.

Other Causes of Pulsatile Tinnitus:

Here’s a glimpse at some of the other symptoms of pulsatile tinnitus –

  • Anaemia
  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Paget’s disease

Medical experts considers anxiety be the reason of Pulsatile tinnitus in some conditions. Studies proves like, there is a correlation for tinnitus with the depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. And, pulsatile tinnitus often worsens if an individual experiencing stress.

hearing heartbeat in your ear - pulsatile tinnitus

How to diagnose Pulsatile Tinnitus?

In case you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above of pulsatile tinnitus, you must set up an appointment with your ENT doctor without any delay.

Most cases of pulsatile tinnitus may not reveal a direct cause. That is why the  ENT department of Allevia Medical Centre in Qatar has devised a series of procedures that will help the ENT specialist determine the factors leading to your condition.

Firstly, you shall be asked to present your medical history and the suffering symptoms. Then according to the requirement, the doctor will assign a few tests to determine the possible factors leading to your condition.

Here’s a list of the test then your ENT specialist might assign you:

  • Computerized tomographic angiography (CTA scan)
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Temporal bone CT scan

In addition, blood tests may be assigned to gain a more detailed diagnosis.

Treatment of Pulsatile Tinnitus

Based on the test results, the ENT specialist will indicate if there is some underlying disease or condition leading to pulsatile tinnitus. Then the tinnitus treatment clinic will present you with some recovery options.

Here are some commonly assigned treatments for pulsatile tinnitus:

  1. Suggest using hearing aids – In case your pulsatile tinnitus is caused due to loss of hearing, the ear, nose, and throat doctor may suggest a hearing aid. Loss of hearing can happen due to aging or some infection in the inner ear. For the latter, the ENT specialist might recommend some medications.
  2. Recommend new medications – Often, pulsatile tinnitus results from the side effects of medication. In that case, the ENT doctor shall replace the medication with alternative drugs.
  3. Cleansing the inner ear – Removal of earwax and any form of infection can eliminate pulsatile tinnitus in many cases. The doctor might even recommend some lifestyle changes to catalyse recovery.
  4. Treating underlying conditions – Your ENT specialist from the tinnitus treatment clinic will provide treatment options, including medication or surgery, to first eliminate the underlying condition causing the pulsatile tinnitus.

Is Pulsatile tinnitus completely curable?

Pulsatile tinnitus is a mild condition that resolves on its own, which is most often temporary. However, if there is an underlying disease causing it, it is required to eliminate the infection to cure the pulsatile tinnitus. Once it’s over, the tinnitus will resolve.

What kind of doctor treats tinnitus?

An otolaryngologist, also known as an ENT specialist, is the kind of doctor that treats conditions like tinnitus.

When Should You See an ENT Doctor About Tinnitus?

Here‘s a list of symptoms that indicate consulting a doctor immediately –

  • Ringing sensation in either of the ears for several weeks
  • Fluid discharge from your ear(s)
  • Repeatedly feeling nausea
  • Rhythmic heartbeat sensation in the ear(s)

Natural Remedies for Pulsatile Tinnitus:

Here’s a list of home remedies that you can follow to minimize the symptoms of pulsatile tinnitus:

  • Reduce using earphones at a loud volume
  • Avoid inserting a cotton swab in the ear frequently
  • Avoid loud environments like parties and concerts
  • Avoid head tapping or head-banging (for dancing or music)
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption

How Allevia’s ENT Department can treat Tinnitus?

Allevia Medical Center is arguably the best ENT hospital in Qatar that has a dedicated department for tinnitus treatment. You will be diagnosed with care, and every procedure shall be explained to you. It is our duty to make you feel comfortable and safe.

Once the ENT specialist at Allevia examines your medical history, test and treatment procedures shall be provided for you to recover quickly. So make sure to book an appointment without further ado!

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