Possible Case of Pulsatile Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by David Ho, Jun 12, 2015.

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    1. David Ho

      David Ho Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2015
      Hi all,

      My T started 5 weeks ago. Can't really attribute it to anything in particular. I just layed on the bed to sleep and noticed it immediately.
      I have the typical constant single tone ring that is amplified when in silence, but on top of that I have (and this is what is really excruciating) a pulsating component. It's like a rythmic grinding sound. A bit like the "walk on snow" sound but much more high pitch. Like someone is hitting the cymbal in a drum to the rhythm of my pulse. It seems to be "in the head" but more to the left side. It doesn't sound like blood flow. It's more like someone is stepping on a nerve to the rhythm of my heart (sorry if it sounds ridiculous).
      Audiogram shows hearing loss of high frequencies on the left side (30 dB 6k and 8k, more after that).
      It's subtle when at rest (but there). When I do exercise (simple walking will do) will make the pounding more pronounced.
      Moving the head side to side over increases pitch and volume even more but stops the pulsating. Bending over also makes it worse.
      It's really disturbing as I can hear it above almost everything. I also have family tendency for vascular problems (varicose veins).
      I've been on wooshers and most sounds there seem to be low in pitch but mine is tortuously high.
      Just wondering if anyone relates to my description of the sound and had any advice.
       
    2. Atlantis

      Atlantis Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2014
      It sounds a vascular problem. Have you had MRA?
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_resonance_angiography
       
    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
      Hi, David,

      I have unilateral pulsating and regular tinnitus, too, on the right side only. I also have some hearing loss on the right side only. My tinnitus is a high-pitched, constant hissing sound, and I've always thought my pulsating sounds more a like drumbeat than a whoosh.

      It's hard to say what could be causing your grinding noise, but I agree with Atlantis that it might be a good idea to get it checked out, just for your peace of mind. Are you near a big city? You could seek out a neurologist or neurotologist, who might know more about PT than a regular ENT. Also, there is a member on here who is planning to go to a clinic in San Francisco that specializes in diagnosing pulsatile tinnitus. Are you anywhere near there? Thanks to this site, and Whooshers.com, I think there is more awareness among doctors than there used to be about PT, so it is definitely worth checking out.

      I know first-hand how maddening pulsatile tinnitus can be, and I sympathize. Please let us know what you decide to do, and if you are able to get any sort of diagnosis.

      And I hope you'll keep posting here on Tinnitus Talk, so that we can share information and support about PT!

      Best wishes,
      Karen
       
    4. David Ho

      David Ho Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2015
      Tks @Karen and @Atlantis.

      I'm seeing a local neuro surgeon (he specializes in image techniques and vascular issues) so he can refer me to some exams (MRI/A/V etc.). It's difficult to find a neurologist or neurotologist that specializes (or indeed knows about PT). My feeling is that it's more about the radiologists that due to experience can spot problems in the MRIs, etc.

      I'm nowhere near San Francisco unfortunately, but if anyone knows about a good PT neurologist in the UK I would very much like to know.

      @Karen can you spot your PT all the time? In my case It's much easier to spot/hear/distinguish, when there isn't too much background noise. Also would you say your's goes to zero between beats? I think mine has a baseline and the pounding just makes it ever more excruciating. It's like when the heat beats as the blood goes through the arteries on the back of the skull is presses some auditory nerve (more to the left side) or something.

      Tks,
       
    5. 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, @David Ho,

      That's true; you're correct that when it comes to tests, it's important to get a good doctor, such as a radiologist, to read your scans and perhaps spot problems, etc., that others might miss. I'm glad you have a good neurosurgeon who can order those tests for you, so that's a good starting point.

      Do I notice my PT all the time? Well, when it first started five years ago it was definitely more pronounced than it is now, so the answer is yes. However, these days, I can kind of tune it out during the day when I'm busy. It's hard to tell if mine goes to zero between beats because it's so constant, and because I'm also hearing my hissing/ringing constantly at the same time. To me, the combination of the pounding and the hissing makes it hard to be in a quiet environment for any length of time. However, I have somewhat habituated to it now, so it is much easier to deal with than it was at the beginning.

      Good luck, and I hope you get some answers soon!
       
    6. David Ho

      David Ho Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2015
      Tks @Karen.
      Didn't mean to have you analyse your T in detail (when the goal is to forget about about it). It's my engineering part of the brain...(what's left of it anyway).
      This last month has been beyond hell. Turning 40 next weekend (talk about birthday present), kids, work, could really do without this. Though I had 5 or 10 years more in me before problems started to creep up from all over the place! :)
      I think I've scared my co-workers just by showing up looking like a zombie everyday. They must be sleeping almost as little as I, in fear of "getting it" haha.
       

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