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The Doctors Lounge - Primary Care Answers

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Forum Name: Ear Nose and Throat

Question: Pulsatile tinnitus only with head movement


NPerani - Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:42 am

Hi I am 30 y old f and about a year ago I first started to hear a swooshing in my R ear that correlates with my pulse when I tilt my head to the opposite side or when tilting my head forward with a slight tilt to the side. I only hear the noise on the R with head movement. I am in shape, and without any health history. I am seeing an ENT who was able to hear the sound on the R, and also a cervical bruit on the L. He ordered a hearing exam, MRA, MRI, and CT which were all normal, and I didn't get any answers. I don't have any other symptoms The noise is always heard with head movement and is always there until I straighten my neck. The noise is a pulsating whoosh and when I first move that side the sound sounds like a stretching noise (difficult to explain). I am a nurse and am pretty aware of my body, and this worries me. Do you have any advice? Thank you
Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:10 am

Your symptoms are interesting. I cannot fully explain it but perhaps when you turn your head a certain direction it causes the pressure in the artery near your ear to increase making the pulsing audible. If this were the case it is likely to be annoying but not dangerous.

The cervical bruit is a little more concerning as it may indicate a narrowing of your carotid artery. If you have not had a doppler ultrasound I would recommend you have this performed. The MRA would likely have picked this up but if it were lower than the MRA scanned it may have been missed.

Follow up with your ENT will be important.

Best wishes. Sorry I can't be of more help.

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