Pulsatile Tinnitus Treatment Options: A Comprehensive Guide

Pulsatile tinnitus, also known as vascular tinnitus, is a type of tinnitus that is characterized by a rhythmic noise that beats in time with your heartbeat. This condition can be distressing and interfere with your daily activities, making it important to seek treatment. In this article, we will explore the various pulsatile tinnitus treatment options available, including medication, lifestyle changes, and surgical interventions.

Pulsatile tinnitus is a type of tinnitus where the perception of sound is synchronized with the heartbeat. The sound is often described as a rhythmic or pulsing noise in the ear. Pulsatile tinnitus can be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as high blood pressure, and its treatment depends on its cause. In this article, we will discuss the available pulsatile tinnitus treatment options.

Understanding Pulsatile Tinnitus

Before delving into treatment options, it’s essential to understand the causes of pulsatile tinnitus. This condition occurs when there is a change in blood flow near the ear, causing the blood vessels to vibrate, leading to the perception of sound. The most common causes of pulsatile tinnitus include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Head or neck tumors
  • Glomus tumor
  • Arteriovenous malformation

Symptoms of Pulsatile Tinnitus

Pulsatile tinnitus can be a distressing condition that can affect your quality of life. The most common symptoms of pulsatile tinnitus include:

  • A rhythmic noise that beats in time with your heartbeat
  • A throbbing or whooshing noise in your ear
  • Changes in the intensity of the noise

Pulsatile Tinnitus Treatment Options

There are various treatment options available for pulsatile tinnitus, depending on the underlying cause of the condition. Here are some of the most common pulsatile tinnitus treatment options:


Medication may be prescribed to treat the underlying condition that is causing the pulsatile tinnitus. For example, if high blood pressure is the cause of the condition, medication to lower blood pressure may be prescribed. Some of the most common medications used to treat pulsatile tinnitus include:

  • Antihypertensives
  • Anticoagulants
  • Antibiotics

Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes can help reduce the severity of pulsatile tinnitus. Here are some of the most effective lifestyle changes that can help:

  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage stress levels

Sound Therapy

Sound therapy involves using external noise to mask the sound of the pulsatile tinnitus. This treatment option is particularly effective for those who experience pulsatile tinnitus at night. Some of the most common sound therapy options include:

  • White noise machines
  • Hearing aids
  • Masking devices

Surgical Interventions

In some cases, surgical interventions may be required to treat pulsatile tinnitus. These interventions aim to correct the underlying condition that is causing the pulsatile tinnitus. Here are some of the most common surgical interventions:

  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Arteriovenous malformation treatment
  • Tumor removal

FAQs for Pulsatile Tinnitus Treatment Options

What is pulsatile tinnitus?

Pulsatile tinnitus is a type of tinnitus in which the sound is rhythmic and corresponds to the heartbeat. The sound can be heard in one or both ears and is usually described as a thumping or tapping noise. Pulsatile tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition.

What are the causes of pulsatile tinnitus?

The most common causes of pulsatile tinnitus are related to blood flow issues in the head and neck. These can include high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, abnormal blood vessels or tumors. Other causes can be related to earwax buildup, jaw joint disorders, and muscle spasms.

How is pulsatile tinnitus diagnosed?

Diagnosis of pulsatile tinnitus is usually done through medical examination and a series of tests, including hearing tests and imaging studies such as an MRI or CT scan. If the cause is related to blood flow issues, a medical health professional may conduct a physical examination of the head and neck, checking for blood flow abnormalities.

What are the treatment options for pulsatile tinnitus?

The treatment of pulsatile tinnitus depends on the underlying cause. If the cause is related to an earwax buildup or muscle spasms, treatment may include the removal of earwax or medication to relax the muscles. If the cause is related to a blood flow issue, medication or surgery may be necessary to fix the problem.

Can pulsatile tinnitus be cured?

In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus can be cured if the underlying cause is known and treatable. However, in cases where the cause is unknown or if the damage is irreversible, pulsatile tinnitus can be controlled through various treatments but may not be cured.

Can lifestyle changes help alleviate pulsatile tinnitus?

Certain lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, a low-sodium diet, quitting smoking or lowering caffeine intake may help alleviate pulsatile tinnitus related to blood pressure or symptoms related to blood flow issues. Reducing stress or anxiety may also help alleviate symptoms related to muscle spasms.

When should I seek medical help for pulsatile tinnitus?

It is recommended to consult a medical health professional if you experience pulsatile tinnitus symptoms persistently or if it interferes with your daily life. A medical professional can conduct an examination and diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.