Need Help Understanding Pulsatile Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by greenpointer, Oct 19, 2015.

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    1. greenpointer

      greenpointer Member

      Hi all, I'm a little confused as to what the definition of pulsatile tinnitus is and would appreciate some help. I've had "regular" tinnitus for 3 months, where I jut have a high pitched ringing 24/7, but lately i've noticed it being affected by my pulse. It gets louder at each heart beat. Is this pulsatile tinnitus? Or is pulsatile tinnitus when you hear the beating or blood whooshing only? I'm trying to diagnose this and do some research, but I'm having a hard time finding anyone with the same symptoms as me. Is tonal tinnitus that gets louder with pulse rare? Does anyone else here have this?

      Thanks!
       
    2. Pilot
      Mellow

      Pilot Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Baltimore, MD
      Tinnitus Since:
      December, 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      This is my guess but I think the definition of PT is broad, if your T goes with your heart beat or blood flow then it is PT. I don't know if tonal PT is rare but I haven't heard from someone else having it.

      Classic PT is caused by turbulent blood flow near the ear, or blood flow that is too close to the ear, usually low frequency. There is also Ménière's disease. The type of PT that some us have isn't blood flow at all, but rather sensory nerves that are activating the auditory system, and since nerves are kept energized by blood flow, we hear a higher pitched hissing that goes with our heart beat.

      Totally guessing, but in your case I would guess that whatever is causing your T is fluctuating with your heart beat because it is energized by blood flow. For example, if your cochlea is causing the T then maybe it boosts the T each time it receives a new supply of energy (oxygen). I don't know your age, health, etc. but maybe improving circulation would even out the fluctuations, if your circulation isn't perfect.

      In my case if I'm sitting down and my heart is resting, then I get up and walk up some stairs, my PT pounds louder for a few heart beats as my heart is beating harder. At times I can hear exactly what my heart is doing.

      Have you noticed anything like this?
       
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    3. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      I agree, Pilot. With actual pulsatile tinnitus, you are hearing your own heartbeat in your ear (or ears). I had only regular tinnitus for many years, and it never was affected by my heartbeat. When I acquired pulsatile tinnitus, it would change with the level of my activity. Especially when my PT first started, I noticed the whooshing more when I had just exerted myself. It would increase dramatically (the heartbeat sound) for a short period of time, then go back to baseline.

      If you are experiencing tonal tinnitus and it changes with an increase in heartbeat, that is not the same thing.

      Under what circumstances do you experience this increase in your tinnitus?
       
    4. greenpointer

      greenpointer Member

      @Pilot @Karen thanks for the replies! If i pay attention to my tinnitus, I can hear the increase in volume with my pulse most of the time, even if i'm just sitting at my desk. I think the volume does increase after physical activity though. Also I notice it more in the morning when i'm laying down - guessing that's from the additional blood flow?

      I'm going to continue to monitor it and see when it spikes. Thanks again for the info! Its definitely not pulsatile tinnitus in the traditional sense, but it is tinnitus that's impacted by my pulse.
       
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    5. su bernadette
      Pensive

      su bernadette Member

      Location:
      SCOTLAND
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/03/2014
      Hi there, I'm a bit confused as my pt started after an ear infection in my right ear. It began as a whooshing sound but after several months became a much softer sound and sometimes like a high pitched peep. I also have tinnitus so it's like a carcophany of sounds going on. When I get up and rush around the pt is louder and faster corresponding to my heart beat then it settles back to usual sound. It is there 24/7 and is very distressing.......it did quieten down for a short while but it's unfortunately back again......any suggestions re my pt...



      Susi
       
    6. Pilot
      Mellow

      Pilot Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Baltimore, MD
      Tinnitus Since:
      December, 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I think you could get temporary PT if you have fluid in your ear that connects and transmits sound from a capillary to your cochlea. That would be the most likely scenario if your PT started with an ear infection. If the PT persists after the infection is gone, then maybe something else is going on.

      Whooshing to me means lower frequency and probably a vascular origin. Higher frequency probably means neurological.

      I'm always skeptical when when my tinnitus changes. I sometimes think that maybe it didn't change but rather the dominant sound settled down and revealed an additional sound that I was previously unaware of.

      I'm sorry to hear it's 24/7, I know how distressing PT can be. Mine has become quieter and more intermittent, but at times it can persist and bug me.

      Most people with PT have had an MRA, CT scan, and coratid artery ultrasound to rule out serious things. PT is rarely serious.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    7. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Hi, @su bernadette,

      Have you been checked out by a doctor, and if so, what tests have you had? As Pilot says, most people with ongoing PT have had an MRA, CT scan, and carotid artery ultrasound. Those tests would be enough to tell you if there is any major problem. It is more likely to be nothing serious, but is very annoying nonetheless.

      I still have both PT and T 24/7, but mine has quieted down, so I am better able to live with it now. Maybe yours will quiet back down, too.

      Best wishes,
      Karen
       

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