What is pulsatile tinnitus? Tinnitus is a common medical disorder that refers to experiencing an unusual ringing or buzzing sound in one or both years, often simultaneously. In this medical disorder, there is no external source of the ringing and buzzing sounds, making it an internal physical condition. Often, people might hear sounds similar to singing and music. Following that, we will discuss pulsatile tinnitus in this article. As the name may suggest, it refers to hearing unusual noises internally without any external source of production that are often rhythmic to your pulse.
Understanding Pulsatile Tinnitus
Before we get down to how you identify the reason behind it or search for treatment options, we should learn about Pulsatile tinnitus in detail. It’s a sequence of unusual and disturbing sounds that are similar to whooshing, throbbing, thumping, and other rhythmic sound patterns. If you hear these sounds more frequently than normal, you might be at risk for lack of concentration (even during the day) and lack of sleep at night.
Pulsatile tinnitus differs from other generic forms of tinnitus due to the rhythmic and intense ringing/buzzing in the ear. However, it may also be a sign or symptom of an underlying medical issue. While it can go away on its own in some people, others require a detailed medical evaluation to assess the health risks that they are vulnerable to.
What Causes Pulsatile Tinnitus?
Dissimilar to the generic causes of regular forms of tinnitus, doctors and specialists usually point out specific types of health problems that may cause pulsatile tinnitus. Here are some of them.
Abnormal Blood Pressure: Disturbance in the blood flow can affect your blood vessels, their condition, and your heart rate. All this can make unusual rhythmic sounds more noticeable.
Overactive Thyroid Glandular Disorder/Chronic Anemia: this leads to a high blood flow throughout the body.
Neck and Head Tumors: Tumors can degrade the blood vessels while also pressuring them, leading to more noises.
Abnormal Blood Vessels: This common issue refers to blood flowing through damaged or severely kinked vessels in the area surrounding the ear and brain. The resulting pressure can increase the intensity and frequency of the internal noise.
Atherosclerosis: In this condition, your blood vessels harden to an undesirable level due to the buildup of fat and cholesterol. Hence, blood has to move with increased force through these clogged vessels. Blood flowing through these vessels near your ear can cause Pulsatile tinnitus.
Arteriovenous Malformation: Malformation and irregular connection between veins and arteries can lead to noises.
How Do You Recognize Pulsatile Tinnitus? Symptoms
To better understand this medical sound disorder, you should know the clear and most common signs and symptoms. The noises can often sound like a beat or steady rhythm in one or both of your ears. While this form of tinnitus is a rare one, it can affect your lifestyle to a large extent.
You may hear sounds that no one else seems to acknowledge. What’s more, you are never aware of when and how long the noise will continue. As the name suggests, the sounds and noises appear to be in beat and rhythm with your pulse. Here are common signs and symptoms of a rare underlying form of tinnitus.
- Hearing Loss
- Vision problems
- Whooshing and whistling sounds
Treatment Options for Pulsatile Tinnitus
Medications and Prescription Drugs
Normally, prescription drugs don’t solve the condition and cure it. However, they may help in alleviating symptoms of the condition to a great extent. This way, you can resume daily activities with minimal interferences.
These sounds and noises are nearly incurable, which means you may experience pulsatile tinnitus for a long time. Over time, you may be able to get a grip over the noises and sounds of this condition. But if the noises such as ringing or buzzing become intensely disturbing and persistent, your healthcare provider might suggest noise suppressing devices, such as white noise machines, masking devices, hearing aids, and so on.
This treatment option looks at a different approach to helping people with tinnitus. Despite finding a cure for this condition, this treatment option focuses on how an affected person perceives unusual sounds of pulsatile tinnitus. Behavioral treatments build a progressive mindset which helps in rethinking and re-perceiving the disturbing sounds. As this treatment reconstructs your perception and how you comprehend these sounds, they may start to bother you lesser than before. The two most common behavioral treatment options include:
Pulsatile Tinnitus: Conclusion
Are you suffering from pulsatile tinnitus? Now might be a good time to seek medical attention in case of any light or expected symptoms. Early detection paves the way to early recovery. This can prevent the manifestation of severe lifestyle complications.
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Stephen Geller Katz, LCSW-R