Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing or other sound in the ears. Pulsatile tinnitus occurs when the ringing or other noise accompanies your heartbeat. Pulsatile or pulsating tinnitus sometimes resembles a clicking sound rather than a ringing sound. A number of things can cause pulsatile tinnitus, including muscle spasms in the jaw or face, high blood pressure, disorders of the blood vessels, aneurisms (weak places in the blood vessels that bulge) and even tumors. Often, though, doctors cannot figure out what causes the condition.
You cannot always prevent pulsating tinnitus. Things outside of our control often cause the condition. Other times, we donít know what causes it which makes it hard to know what steps to take to prevent it. There are a few things you can do, however.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to always wear ear protection when youíre exposed to loud noises like machinery, tools or firearms. Limit your exposure to things like loud music, too.
Protect yourself from head and ear injuries if you can. Wear a helmet on a bike or motorcycle, for example.
Since high blood pressure can contribute to tinnitus, take steps to manage your blood pressure. Exercise regularly and eat a low fat diet. Get your blood pressure checked periodically and talk to your doctor about treatment if itís high.
The treatment for pulsatile tinnitus depends on the cause, if the cause can be determined. For instance, pulsating tinnitus due to tumors or certain blood vessel disorders may require surgical treatment. Medication can treat high blood pressure that causes tinnitus.
Unfortunately, doctors cannot always determine the cause of tinnitus. Sometimes all you can do is try to treat the symptoms.
White noise machines sometimes relieve symptoms of pulsatile tinnitus. They make a low level background noise that kind of drowns out the ringing in your ears. Some people find them particularly helpful at night if the ringing in their ears makes it difficult to sleep.
There are medications that help with symptoms of tinnitus in some cases, including sedatives like xanax and tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline, imipramine and trimipramine. Doctors generally reserve those drugs for the most severe cases of tinnitus, though, because they can have very troubling side effects including constipation, blurred vision, upset stomach, weight gain, headaches and increased heart rate. Xanax can also be habit forming.
Some people prefer to try homeopathic remedies or other alternative treatments for pulsating tinnitus so they donít have to deal with the side effects of prescription drugs. Homeopathic remedies donít work for everyone but they do provide much needed relief for some people, including some that did not find relief with any traditional medical treatments.
See a doctor if you have pulsating tinnitus that begins suddenly. Rarely, itís caused by an aneurism near the ear, which can be very dangerous. See a doctor if you have any type of tinnitus following a blow to the head or if the ringing in your ears is accompanied by other symptoms, like lack of coordination, difficulty walking or talking, or changes in personality.
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