Pulsatile tinnitus: What causes it?

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Pulsatile tinnitus: What causes it?

Question

What causes pulsatile tinnitus?

No name given
Minnesota

Answer

Pulsatile tinnitus, also called objective tinnitus, is a hissing, squealing, buzzing or roaring noise in your ear that follows the same rhythm as your heartbeat. The noise may vary in pitch and be loud enough to be distracting. Pulsatile tinnitus may be caused by certain disorders of the blood vessels, including:

  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Turbulent blood flow caused by narrowing veins or arteries
  • Malformation of capillaries
  • Head and neck tumors

If you experience the signs of pulsatile tinnitus, see your doctor. Sometimes, a doctor can hear the sounds of pulsatile tinnitus with a stethoscope. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

Last Updated: 10/13/2007
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