Unilateral Pulsatile Tinnitus
To understand it better, let us take the headline apart and see the result at once. Unilateral stands for hearing the buzzing in one ear (bilateral involves both the ears); pulsatile stands for pulse-like sound effect while tinnitus represents all those tinkling, hissing. whooshing, roaring, tingling sounds that are heard by the affected person day in day out, turning him/her crazy like hell. Rejoining the title head we find the picture in its entirety where the person suffering from pulsatile tinnitus hears the resonance of his/her own heartbeat from which the name of the disease has been taken. However, the reason behind this strange phenomenon is erratic or constricted blood flow in the arteries that run through the head and neck region of the patient which sometimes correspond to the beating of the heart.
Unilateral pulsatile tinnitus falls under the category of subjective tinnitus in which the sound is heard only by the affected person and no one else. Detailed studies have revealed that it is usually associated with otologic disorders having two basic types of hearing problems - Conductive and Sensorineural. While the first one relates to inhibition of sound transmission to the inner ear, the later results from infection, disease condition or abnormality found in the inner ear. The uncommunicativeness can be triggered through a number of factors that comprise inflammation of the external acoustic canal from the otis externa, perforation of the tympanic membrane, cerumen impaction, collection of excessive fluid or discharge in the middle ear, etc. It may also happen due to otosclerosis, signifyingabnormalities in the ossicular bone chain. Of course, problems arising out of the cochlear part of the 8th cranial nerve should not be ruled out in this matter. NIHL or Noise-induced Hearing Loss and presbycusis (progressive loss of hearing with advancing age) are some of the common etiological factors responsible for this kind of hearing loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have a "heartbeat-like" pounding in my ear, but I don't think it's Pulsatile Tinnitus. Any ideas?
It's been happening on-and-off for as long as I can remember, years and years. Recently it's gotten a lot worse, with frequent occurrences (usually 8-10 hours long) each week. It's not always constant - it can also go on for several minutes, stop for a minute, then continue. Often when this is happening, any noises at all around me (even the sound of my typing or people talking at normal volume in the next room over) will cause a sympathetic "boom" in my ear (I don't know how else to describe it...it's the same sound as the heartbeat, but in time to outside noises instead of my pulse). It most commonly happens in my left ear alone, but occasionally in both ears at once. I've also recently noticed a hearing issue - I can hear fine, both very high and very low sounds, but I have trouble differentiating between sounds (any background noise at all can cause me miss what people say). I am not stressed at all. I have perfect blood pressure, perfect cholesterol... I'm 22 yrs old, and female.
I do clean my ears of wax regularly, using the warm water flushing method, and I'm sure it's not a build-up of that.
This sounds like a neurological hearing problem, we see this frequently in the clinic, people can hear sound at normal levels, but have difficulty understanding speech, it's called a central heaing loss. And as far as the pounding, it IS tinnitus, if not that, then your ears are so sensitive that your hearing your own otoacoustic emissions - the sounds that come out of your ears. Hope this helps, good luck!
Pulsatile tinnitus or something else?
Sometimes, usually when im really tired i get a sensation of pulsating in one or both ears. It usually does not have a rhythmic beat in tune with the heart and only lasts a few beats at most, and isn't constant.
I thought I would also mention I have normal blood pressure. Sometimes under stress it increases to 138/88 or so, but usually right around normal. These really do not seem vascular and it almost feels like it's the actual ear muscle doing it, and not just hearing it, because i feel it too.
I have come to the realization that it might not even be pulsatile tinnitus. From what I've read this should be nearly constant. Instead it's more a pressure in the ears that occasionally results in a thump or two. It's worse if my neck is tilted back, as in laying on my stomach and typing on a laptop. Maybe it's more of an inner ear problem, or whatever is causing my visual symptoms (flashes of light, light sensitivity, ghosting, trouble focusing)
See your health care provider as soon as possible (ear specialist).
The cause of ringing or other noise in the ear, called tinnitus, often can't be determined. Tinnitus can result from almost any ear disorder, such as impacted earwax or infection. It can also be a symptom of anemia, cardiovascular disease, or Meniere's disease. Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss.
Treating the underlying disorder, if one can be found, may stop the noise. I hope this helps you. And good luck.
Headaches, tinnitus, eye pain - please help me?
I'd like to know if somebody has experienced similar symptoms as I've been having for a while. I'm a 22-year-old female, I study computer science and have to spend long hours a day at my computer (8 AM - 10 PM with a lunch break is no exception). By the beginning of March, my younger sister contracted flu (sinus infection maybe) and I thought I'd caught it from her then. I had fever and strong headaches for 2 days but I went to school/work anyway and it went away with paracetamol. A week later, the headaches returned: my head would start throbbing in the sides (between the temples and the ears) the moment I lay down to bed in the evening (i.e. the pain was limited to the horizontal position - as soon as I sat down, it went away and I didn't feel anything in the morning). I wouldn't get this kind of headache every evening but I discovered it was triggered or worsened by stress, depression and crying (I had just gone through a particularly painful breakup with my boyfriend). Sometimes, I even felt pain in my head after coughing, sneezing or bending.
I eliminated all contact with my ex this Monday and I've only had very slight headaches since. However, I've been experiencing other problems: for a couple of days, I've been feeling pulsatile tinnitus, popping and pressure in both my ears, as if I've just got off a plane, and it is getting worse every day. Moreover, I've started to feel eye pain if I have my glasses on. I'm shortsighted (-3 on both eyes) with astigmatism and need to wear glasses all the time. I remember feeling similar pain whenever I was getting used to new glasses... hovever I've had these for four years and I had already got used to them completely. The eye pain isn't particularly strong but I feel so uncomfortable I cannot wear my glasses anymore. With my glasses off, I only feel the pressure in the ears, face and some jaw pain.
Looking up the cause for such symptoms on the internet has only increased my fear since I found brain tumor, increased intracranial pressure with blindness risks and similar catastrophic predictions. Neck stiffness or neck spine problems was possibly the most optimistic cause behind this kind of problems. Has anybody experienced similar symptoms? I'm getting really afraid.
First, sitting at a computer 12 hours a day is insane and not a very healthy behaviour. Your body was meant to move, not just to sit in front of a box (as entertaining as it might be). Lack of motion along with, I assume, the stress of trying to figure stuff out leads to muscle and joint tension which can create pain and over time lead to joint degeneration (arthritis). It also shouldn't come as a surprise that sitting in front of the computer overtaxes your eyes and doesn't allow them to rest or even get used in different ways.
These coupled with a likely sinus infection can certainly create increased tension in neck and jaw muscles, some of which can refer pain into the temples, create tinnitus or even cause eye pain. The first muscle I'd suspect is the sternocleidomastoid or SCM. It attaches from behind the ear down to the collarbone and over to the top of the sternum (breastbone). Search google images for a picture of it. If it becomes over-activated, it can lead to eye pain, ear pain, headaches, tinnitus and a whole bunch more.
If you carefully squeeze various parts of the muscle between your thumb and forefinger, I expect you'll find it to be quite tender and may re-create some of your symptoms. (If you feel a pulsing between them find a another spot because you're probably squeezing the carotid artery going to the brain - not a good idea). If it is tender, just hang on to it for a while and see if the discomfort will drop to about 50% of the initial level. Let go and see how you feel. If better, then it probably has some importance.
the next muscle is the temporalis, which lies above the ear and attaches into the jaw. Just as before, feel along each side of your head and into the temples and if you find a tender spot or spots, maintain the pressure to see what happens.
the last muscles that may be involved are the internal and external pterygoids. These are jaw muscles that you con only get to from inside you mouth. I don't think telling you how to do it here will be a good idea, so I suggest you see a either a massage therapist or chiropractor who does muscle work to get these checked out. They can also check out other areas that may be contributing.
Emotional stress nearly always makes stuff worse, so relax as much as you can. Get your eyes checked also. Regarding cancer and the like, that is always a possibility, but I've always been told that if you hear hoofbeats look for horses. Cancer is a zebra.
Hope this helps.