To start with,what is pulsatile tinnitus? This is a type of tinnitus where victims experience a sound that beats in time with the pulse. This type of tinnitus is also referred to as vascular tinnitus. In simpler terms, people hear something resembling their heartbeat in their ears.
People suffering from pulsatile tinnitus may experience single or multiple rhythmic heartbeats that are usually heard as either a low pitched thumping or booming noise, or as a higher pitched clicking noise.
Though pulsatile tinnitus is not a common form of tinnitus, it has some well-known causes including high blood pressure,heart murmur, globe-shaped tumor, or due to a disorder in the vein or artery. In most cases, pulsatile tinnitus can be treated effectively and permanently.
The major known cause of pulsatile tinnitus is due to irregular flow of blood in the veins and large arteries to the neck, base of the skull, or even the smaller blood vessels inside the ears.
There are several factors that can influence blood flow.To start with systemic increase in blood supply which can occur during strenuous exercise or can be due to severe lack of enough of blood.
Another cause of pulsatile tinnitus is decreased supply of blood to the veins supplying blood to the ears due the of the veins. This forces the sister blood vessels to supply extra blood thus overloading them. This added blood load to the veins causes head noise which is referred to as vascular tinnitus.
Increased blood load hardens the blood vessels making the blood flow rough causing pulses.
If pulsatile tinnitus is suspected, thorough tests need to be done on the circulatory system mainly on the vascular vessels including checking of pressure in the head.
Some of the tests that need to be done to confirm pulsatile tinnitus include:
2. CT scan
3. Magnetic Resonance Scanning (MRI)
4. Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) or Angiography
Now lets discuss the most common causes of pulsatile tinnitus.
1. Carotid artery-cavernous sinus fistula – This is abnormal connection in between the large artery and the venous pool within the cranial cavity, usually the result of severe head trauma.
2. Arteriovenous malformations (AVMS) – this is an abnormal group of arteries and veins that occur within the cranial cavity near the auditory nerve.
3. Long-term infection and or inflammation of the middle part of the ear. Due to the chronic inflammation there is increase in blood flow to the affected tissue thus increasing pressure to the tissue.
The increased pressure due to increased blood flow to the ears makes victims hear sounds similar to their heart beat and this is what is referred to as vascular tinnitus.
4. Accumulation of fluids in the middle ear is the forth cause of vascular tinnitus we are going to look at.
The middle ear is normally filled with air and under normal circumstances there shouldn’t be any fluid.
Fluid can accumulate as a result of a malfunction by the Eustachian tune.This dysfunction is occasioned by either an untreated infection to the ear or uncontrolled inflammation.
These circumstances will often lead to vascular tinnitus.
5. Another well known cause of pulsatile tinnitus is vascular tumors in the middle ear.
This is often referred to as glomus because of the usually globe shape of these tumors.In some circles the tumors are also known as paragangliomas. In cases where these tumors have been confirmed, surgical intervention is the preferred option.
6. The sixth cause of vascular tinnitus is atheroma.
Atheroma is a fatty deposit in the inner lining of an artery.This fat deposit causes narrowing or partial blockage of the arteries thus obstructing blood flow to the ears.
Atheroma is as a result of increased levels of low density lipoproteins in short LDL.
Due to the diversity of pulsating tinnitus causes, treatment is thus dependent on the specific cause of each individual case. In the case where high blood pressure is the cause o pulsatile tinnitus, then lowering the pressure to the optimum level will take care of your tinnitus.
As we had discussed earlier, surgery will be required in the case you have any growth in your ears.
Atheroma will be taken care of by lowering the LDL thus reducing the obstruction of blood flow in the arteries.
By now you know the six major causes of pulsatile tinnitus and like any other tinnitus sufferer you are eager to get rid of it permanently.But there is something you don’t know yet.
What you don’t know yet- I know that what I am about to reveal to you can be almost impossible to believe.