Pulsatile Tinnitus and Head Position

Discussion in 'Support' started by rhubarbpieguy, May 8, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. rhubarbpieguy

      rhubarbpieguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1972
      I'm 60 and have had tinnitus since my teens. However, in the last ten years or so I've noticed what I believe is called pulsatile tinnitus in my left ear. It's extremely annoying and particularly bad when I lie in bed.

      But I've recently noticed it's greatly reduced if I raise my head while lying. If I lie flat it's terrible, but if I raise my head it's almost gone.

      That gives me some hope as I'm in very good health and my hearing if quite good. Do others notice this effect with pusatile tinnitus? Does that effect indicate a possible course of treatment?
       
    2. citigirl13
      Dreaming

      citigirl13 Member

      Location:
      North Yorkshire, England
      Tinnitus Since:
      17/1/14
      Hey. I'm afraid I am not sure in regards to pulsatile tinnitus (PT). I suffer from tinnitus (T) caused by fluid in the ear, and it feels like my T gets worse when I lie down, my guess because of movement in the ear. There is a section underneath this support section called Pulsatile Tinnitus support, so you may find some more answers there.

      PT can sometimes be a sign of a vascular problem, so it might be worthwhile going to the doctor's to get blood pressure checked etc. It is very rare for it to be serious e.g. a warning of a stroke, and many people live with PT all the time without it being linked to a health problem, but please get checked out anyway. See an ENT, and if he is clueless on the subject I read that sometimes a neurologist is better to talk to. As little as ENTs know about regular T, they seem to know even less about PT, but a neurologist knows more. I would pose this question in the support section of the PT area (go further down the screen) as you are likely to get more people with more knowledge on PT
       
    3. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
    4. 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, @rhubarbpieguy,

      I'm also in my 60's and have both tinnitus and pulsatile tinnitus, in my right ear only. It's good that you have found a way to make your pulsating less noticeable when lying down. I don't know for sure whether or not it is more cureable since you can do that; it might be a good idea to be checked out by a doctor, just to be sure. Glad to hear that you are in good health otherwise; that may be a good sign!

      Have you checked to be sure your PT is in sync with your pulse, and is it constant? If it fluctuates, it could be something other than pulsatile tinnitus. Mine is constant, and my regular tinnitus is a high-pitched hissing tone. What is yours like?

      Yes, it's true that many ENT's don't have a lot of information, or a lot of time to spend, with patients presenting with PT. You might instead want to consider going to a neurotologist, if there is one in your area.

      I'm glad you've joined us here at Tinnitus Talk, and hope you'll update us if you decide to see a doctor.

      Best wishes,
      Karen
       
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    5. rhubarbpieguy

      rhubarbpieguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1972
       
    6. rhubarbpieguy

      rhubarbpieguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1972
      Unfortunately, holding my head at a twenty degree or so angle isn't terribly practical. And I can't simply prop it up on a pillow. I must hold my head at an incline without support. That's the bad news. The good news is it's extremely effective. That's what leads to believe there may be some hope.

      I've self-diagnosed pulsatile tennitus as it's rhythmic, like a wave. However, it seems to be slightly slower than my pulse.

      My tone isn't hissing, but rather, a loud rhymthic tone. Until ten years ago or so I had the same tone, only constant and it really didn't bother me. My PT is in the left ear only, much louder and very rhythmic.
       
    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
      @rhubarbpieguy,
      Your situation sounds similar to mine. I had tinnitus for many years, too, in my right ear only. I was aware of it, but it wasn't bothersome at all. It was after I took a blood pressure drug for the first time that my tinnitus changed. It got much louder, more intrusive, and then the pulsating began.

      Yes, I think it would be rather difficult for you to keep your head at that angle all night long. But, at least you have a way of getting some relief from the pulsating! And that might be a good sign, too, that it might diminish with time. I've heard of some cases where the PT disappeared after awhile. So, yes, there is reason for hope!!

      I wish you well, and hope you'll keep us updated on how you're doing.
       
    8. Fuggs

      Fuggs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/08/2000

      Just thought I would throw my hat in so to speak. My PT seemed to coincide when I had major dental reconstruction 5 years ago, in May, the PT started in August that year. Its taken me all this time to piece everything together. I am 64, had PT for 5 years and have just finished April 2014] another round of tests. MRI, MRA, MRV, and Ultrasound. There is no arterial problems or vascular disease or at least the surgeons cant see any reason....but my osteopath did pick up with me that my PT gets worse when my neck and back needs its 3 months MOT. After the physio its great. Thats what prompted getting the vertebral artery scanned as the consultant didn't do it first time round.

      I have just had extended allergy patch testing done at my Hospital and turns out I have a allergy to gold. I also have two gold crown fillings. I also have Oral Lichen Planus, that started about the same time as my dental work, and the worse ulcers are adjacent to the gold/amalgam fillings. Get the drift???
      Any ways, this May I am having the gold crowns removed, and June a quadrant of amalgams at timed intervals. I shall then commence a full mercury chelation programme. Please check out Andrew Hall Cutler books, mercury toxicity. It is available on line. I am convinced many of my problems are due to mercury toxicity, and following my other lab tests [I paid for] show very high levels of mercury, lead, cadmium and beryllium. So have my work cut out. Unfortunate, all of this is way out of the league of my GP, but there are some brilliant forums on all of this, and a lot ties in with T. Also google ototoxic drugs....http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/515901
      Good luck
       
    9. 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, @Fuggs,

      Thanks for chiming in about your PT, and the possible causes. It's good that you've had those tests, to rule out any major vascular issues. I'll be interested to hear how you are doing after you have the gold crowns removed, and the amalgams done. Yours does sound like a case of some form of toxicity.

      A question: Do you have both ringing and pulsating tinnitus, or pulsating only? I have both kinds, and some hearing loss in my right ear as well.

      Thanks for all the information, and good luck to you, too!
       
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    10. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      How do you get mercury levels checked? Is there a special laboratory for it and can it be done long distance?
       
    11. Jay M
      Thinking

      Jay M Member

      Location:
      South Carolina, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/4/14
      That very same thing happened to me for about 4 weeks and now it's resolved some. I suspect allergies in my case.
       
    12. Simon 852

      Simon 852 Member

      Location:
      Hastings East Sussex England
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, performing rock gigs, sinus infections
      Yes I have it in left ear if I turn my head to the right, especially when lying down. I sympathise!
       
    13. 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
      @Simon 852,

      How long have you had pulsatile tinnitus? Have you had any tests to try to determine the cause?
       
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    14. DebInAustralia

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Team Research

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      30/12/13
      who would you recommend I see to rule out PT and/or investigate causes?
       
    15. 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
      Well, you could start with an ENT. He/she will probably refer you to a specialist, such as a neurotologist or neurologist. These specialists are usually more knowledgeable about PT, and may order some tests to rule out any problems.

      The first test they might suggest would be an MRI. I now know that you can also have an MRA (arteries) and MRV (veins) performed at the same time. These tests are performed using a contrast dye called gadolinium. I was worried about the gadolinium before I had the tests, but had no problems with it. (Drink plenty of water before and after the procedure, and you will be fine!).

      If your doctor suspects that the cause might be IIH (benign intracranial hypertension), he/she may order a lumbar puncture to remove fluid to be examined. IIH involves excess fluid accumulation around the brain, which could cause pulsating noises in the head. This might be suspected if you have severe headaches, vision problems, PT, etc.

      A doctor might also order at CT scan, perhaps with contrast dye, to see if there are any structural problems within the veins around the ear. A CT scan does involve radiation, so it would probably be better to have the MRI first.

      If there is reason to suspect a problem, a doctor might order an angiogram, which is slightly invasive and has some small risk of stroke. I haven't had this test myself, but I understand it gives the clearest picture of what might be going on inside your head's vascular system.

      I wish you good luck, and hope you are able to find a caring physician who will work with you to rule out any problems!

      Best wishes,
      Karen
       
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    16. Simon 852

      Simon 852 Member

      Location:
      Hastings East Sussex England
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, performing rock gigs, sinus infections
      About 2 or 3 years Karen, I believe it is related to Glue Ear which I have all the time and for which the ENT consultant has given me steroid nasal drops and hearing aids; the PT is not constant however; I would love to to have MRI scan for this as it affects not only me hearing, tinnitus, and sense of well being, but also how I communicate and interact with the world; the way talking becomes so uncomfortable and even distressing has completely changed my outlook and character; I have come off dairy products, all alcohol and am taking herbal medicine and probably will start fasting soon to help the body eliminate toxins but it seems relent less at time of writing, very depressing at times. I've stopped being able to work and am desperate really to find an answer. Sorry to go on.
       
    17. 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
      @Simon 852 ,

      It sounds like you're doing the right things by coming off dairy, alcohol, and perhaps going on a fast. I know how you feel -- the pulsating for me has been a life-changing experience. I've had it for four years now, and am coping with it as best I can. I am back at work (part-time) now, and I think the distraction of work seems to help.

      It must be difficult for you to get a doctor to order tests in the UK; are you going to be able to see a doctor any time soon, to see if he can order an MRI for you?
       
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    18. Simon 852

      Simon 852 Member

      Location:
      Hastings East Sussex England
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, performing rock gigs, sinus infections
      Hi Karen - thanks for your reply!

      Yes, I am going to pester the ENT department about an MRI or CT scan; they just don't suggest these things; I told them I could just about live with the Tinnitus (no choice!) but alongside the breathing and heartbeat etc, the echo of my voice, when I speak, like a really grating metallic, or 'comb-and-paper' effect. It's making normal life and communication an ordeal, to the point where I just don't want to speak to anyone; it's so uncomfortable and difficult to describe, but overwhelmingly loud. Sometimes I get very distressed, other times I get by by pushing my temples very hard, or blocking up the ear canal which can give a little relief; I talk to people like this a lot now, pushing my temple in. People generally don't understand even if I try to explain.

      I'm trying to accept this but at the same time I don't want to lose hope for a solution.

      I'm bringing up a family, play all over the UK weekly in a touring band, and doing a degree; two full - on house moves last year, so stress has been high. This can't have helped. I also try to meditate now but I can't seem to mentally get through the incessant white noise and tinnitus. I go to sleep every night with an ipod on playing masking and relaxation tracks, some of which are soundscapes I wrote recorded in the 90s well before I had tinnitus!

      Gotta push the doctor for an MRI - but I suspect I have Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD) or Patulous Eustachian Tube, or even Superior Canal Dehisence, as these feature very similar symptoms but are different conditions. I'm learning a lot about the workings of the ear, but without a scan I am stumbling on self-diagnosis!

      Could write pages, better stop.

      Thanks
      Simon
       
    19. 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
      @Simon 852 ,

      Wow; what you have described sounds pretty awful. I'm wondering if you have hyperacusis, too, in addition to the pulsating and possible ETD. Keep pushing for those tests; if you have the tests, at least it will help rule out certain conditions, and give you some peace of mind.

      I wish you well, and hope you'll update us after you have those tests.

      Very best wishes,
      Karen
       
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    20. Simon 852

      Simon 852 Member

      Location:
      Hastings East Sussex England
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music, performing rock gigs, sinus infections
      Yes I will - thanks Karen. Yes I do have hyperacusis, especially at bedtime, a small noise can send a shockwave like you'd never believe. Other 'normal' sounds can be really painful or uncomfortable. Do you have it?
      Anyway, I'll post again when I know more.
      Best wishes to you
      Simon
       
    21. 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, Simon,

      I've been lucky enough not to have hyperacusis. But --- I do have some sensitivity to noises at a certain level, such as my TV. It seems to make the hissing/ringing worse if I watch more than 1/2 hour of television at a time. Sometimes the computer can cause my tinnitus to get worse, too. Very strange!

      Good luck with the tests, and I'll be interested to hear what you find out.

      Best wishes for a quiet evening,
      Karen
       
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    22. Laura89
      Tired

      Laura89 Member

      Location:
      Calgary, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Feb 14, 2014
      Hey Simon, your symptoms totally sound like superior canal deshisence... I hope you get to the bottom of this! I understand your pain. I too have vascular tinnitus. What is your pt like? Is it a thud or a whooosh whoosh?
       
    23. Alex Senkowski
      Tolerant

      Alex Senkowski Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      I have the same problem with head position. Most of the time my T is dull and quiet but as soon as I lay my head down it spikes. It goes away after a couple of hours of sleep, but I haven't had a calm, relaxing night sleep for almost a year. I can sleep, I just don't enjoy it anymore. Anyone have any tips or advice for this?
       
    24. 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 know what you mean, Alex! When I lay my head down, I can't help being aware of the pulsating, so it is very hard to sleep. One thing that helps is to prop your head up on more than one pillow. That seems to help me; it's lying flat that is a real problem.

      Others may have additional suggestions. Anyone else with this problem?
       
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    25. Alex Senkowski
      Tolerant

      Alex Senkowski Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      Thanks! I will try that tonight.
       
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    26. 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 hope it works for you, Alex! Any ideas we can share to get a good night's sleep are always welcome.
       
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    27. john livingston
      Cool

      john livingston Member

      Location:
      Pinehurst NC
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/1974
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      football contact
      I'm new on T talk can yaw explain the difference in T and PT.
       

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