Pulsatile Tinnitus

What is pulsatile tinnitus?

Pulsatile tinnitus is caused by blood circulating in or near your ears.
Unlike most types of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus has a physical source of sound that your ears pick up. It’s an amplified sound of blood circulating through your arteries
The ringing or buzzing you hear with other kinds of tinnitus is a result of nerves picking up on abnormal electrical signals moving from your ears to your brain.

What causes pulsatile tinnitus?

There are many possible causes of pulsatile tinnitus, but they all stem from circulation issues. Among the most common causes are:

Atherosclerosis

Blockage in your arteries caused by a buildup of cholesterol, fats, and waste materials can cause blood flow to be turbulent. If this is the cause, you may hear a rhythmic noise in one of your ears.

High blood pressure

When your blood pressure rises, the force of blood against the inner walls of your arteries increases. More forceful blood flow in arteries in or around the ears is easier for your ears to detect.

Turbulent blood flow

Narrowed neck arteries (carotid arteries) or veins (jugular veins) may also cause a change in blood flow to and from the head. Your ears may pick up on this turbulent or irregular circulation, causing pulsatile tinnitus.

Head or neck tumors

A tumor that presses against a vein can also cause pulsatile tinnitus.

Turbulent blood flow

Narrowed neck arteries (carotid arteries) or veins (jugular veins) may also cause a change in blood flow to and from the head. Your ears may pick up on this turbulent or irregular circulation, causing pulsatile tinnitus.

Abnormal capillaries

A problem with the tiny blood vessels that help connect your arteries to your veins, or capillaries, can cause pulsatile tinnitus.

 

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