Pathophysiology of Pulsatile Tinnitus - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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Author: Dara France

What is Pulsatile Tinnitus?
Pulsatile Tinnitus is the rhythmical noise in the ears that beats in time with the pulse. Pulsatile tinnitus is the sound of our own pulse, blood flow or heart beats, this causes ringing in our ears. There may be single or multiple rhythmic beats that can be heard as a high pitched clicked noise, low pitched thumping or booming sounds.

The causes of pulsatile tinnitus include:
1.  Hypertension, which is due to high blood pressure that causes pulsing and ringing noises which can be heard within the ear canal. It also actuates the pounding of the sound and creates discomfort.

2.  Excessive doing of the exercises also causes this problem of pulsatile tinnitus, as intense exercises leads to increase in the blood pressure. When strenous exercise is performed, there will be an increase in the flow of the blood through out the body.


3.  Malformation of the arteries and veins also leads to the development of this disorder, as a group of veins interfere with auditory nerve and ringing sound in the ears and several different problems of the ear. There will be an increase in the blood flow if the blood vessel is narrower than usual.
Any kind of infection to the ears leads to the chronic inflammation, that drives more blood flow and this blood flow can be heard.

4.  High levels of cholesterol also causes this problem, so it has to be treated immediately by using natural methods. This in turn is helpful in the treatment of pulsatile tinnitus.

5.  Chronic inflammation of the middle ear is accompanied by the increased blood flow to the inflammed tissues, because of this a person can hear the increased blood flow.  The middle ear is generally an air filled space and if it is infected with any kind of infection or inflammation occurs in the middle ear, there will be accumulation of the fluid behind the middle ear that results in pulsatile tinnitus.

6.  Dysfunctioning of the eustachian tube also results in the accumulation of the fluid and finally leads to the development of the pulsatile tinnitus. Vascular tumors, generally known as glomus tumors or paragangliomas may develop in the middle ear giving rise to this problem. Surgery is required for the correction of this kind of problems.
If the arteries are blocked due to atheroma, there will be obstruction in the blood flow. The atheroma is the fatty deposit and results due to high levels of cholesterol in the body. The cause may also be due to age related hearing loss.

Treatment of Pulsatile Tennitus:
Treatment for the pulsatile tennitus is based on the cause of its disorder. If the cause of pulsatile tinnitus is due to hypertension, the person has to be treated with anti-hypertensive drugs for controlling the blood pressure.
If there is narrowing of arteries or veins, they have to be repaired surgically. The pulsatile tinnitus can be reduced by lowering the levels of the cholesterol in the body.  Treatment for this generally involves a multi drug or multi disciplinary approach. It involves a variety of methods for the management of the symptoms. They are generally treated with drug therapy, sound relaxation therapy and any other alternative methods that treats the condition.
One of the effective treatment is to improve the blood flow by taking the ginkgo biloba extract. This extract contains terpenoids that helps in improving the blood flow by dilating the blood vessels and makes the platelets less sticky.
Another cause of the disorder is anaemia. So it has to be treated by taking iron rich food like green leafy vegetables, bran flakes, brown rice etc.


Diet containing low salt, low fat and low cholesterol foods have to be taken to control the pulsatile tinnitus.
Consuming the vitamins generally helps in healing the ear infections by making the body to return to its normal healthy condition.

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