Pulsatile tinnitus is a type of tinnitus condition wherein a person keeps hearing a whooshing or pulsating sound that thumps in tune with the heart beat. This condition is also called vascular tinnitus because it is commonly caused by blood flow disruption or poor blood circulation. Pulsatile tinnitus is not very common; however, the struggles an afflicted person has to go through are quite challenging.
There are different types of pulsatile tinnitus and one of the most prevalent is a condition called arterial turbulence. This is caused by restricted flow of blood that causes crimps or plaques in the arteries along the region of head and neck. The condition can worsen when the affected person suffers from high blood pressure. When this occurs, the body experiences an increased blood flow which causes the production of turbulence sound in the ears.
This form of tinnitus is different from the continuous type of tinnitus, though some people can have both types. For those people with both types of tinnitus, the sounds produced by the pulsatile tinnitus are the most irritating. Like other forms of tinnitus, the pulsatile one is not considered a disease. It is rather a symptom caused by other underlying problems. Because this condition is related to blood flow matters, the main reason could be important and must be consulted with a doctor right away. Nevertheless, this form of tinnitus is treatable.
Aside from poor blood flow, pulsatile tinnitus may be caused by other conditions such as:
1. Arteriovenous Malformations – this condition is caused by the unequal number of veins and arteries located near the auditory nerve along the cranial cavity. The pulsation activity in the auditory nerve causes pulsating sound to be heard.
2. Atherosclerosis - the cholesterol buildup on the artery wall causes the arterial constriction. This condition causes the blood flow to be disrupted; thereby producing a pulsating sound a tinnitus sufferer can hear.
3. Benign Intracranial Hypertension - this condition occurs when the fluid that surrounds the brain experiences inflated pressure. This can lead to hearing loss that is mainly characterized by hearing beating or pulsating sound.
4. Carotid Artery-Cavernous Sinus Fistula – this condition results from massive head trauma. It involves the abnormal merging of the large artery and large veins.
5. Middle Ear Inflammation or Infection – the blood flow can elevate as a result of infection in the middle ear. The elevated blood circulation results to a pulsating or turbulent sound comparable to the turbulent sound of water flowing rapidly.
6. Hypertension – pulsatile tinnitus can be caused by taking medicines used to treat hypertension or high blood pressure. To correct this problem, the dosage of the medication may need to be lowered or the medication itself may be changed completely.
7. Glomous Tumor - this condition is also called vascular tumor which can occur at the base of the skull in the middle or inside the ear. This condition can be corrected by surgery.
As discussed in this article, pulsatile tinnitus signals other more severe or serious health conditions. To make sure you don’t experience the symptom anymore, the underlying conditions probably causing it must be addressed and treated.