As of the past few days, I can hear the boom of my heartbeat in my left ear. This is disturbing especially at night when trying to sleep. I have a 120/80 blood pressure, non smoker, very fit. Is this normal?
many many thanks!
No it's not. It could be pulsatile tinnitus. Here is some info:
Pulsatile tinnitus is the perception of a rhythmical noise that is synchronous with the patient's heartbeat. Although uncommon, it can be an extremely debilitating symptom. Pulsatile tinnitus is usually the result of blood flow turbulence in vessels close to the seventh and eighth cranial nerves or inner ear. The causes are important to identify and include vascular tumours such as paragangliomas, especially glomus tympanicum and jugulare tumours, vascular anomalies, Paget's disease and an idiopathic group. Common vascular causes include an aberrant internal carotid artery, a high jugular vein bulb, a jugular diverticulum, dehiscent jugular bulb, dural arteriovenous fistula, internal carotid artery aneurysm and stenosis, as well as vertebrobasilar arterial dissection. Dolichoectasia is defined as fusiform dilatation of an artery. It is distinct from aneurysmal dilatation and particularly affects the basilar artery. Dolichoectasia is more common in elderly males, especially if they are hypertensive, and is often incidentally detected on CT. However, MRI and MR angiography are the imaging investigations of choice in these patients. Dolichoectasia of the basilar artery can cause compression of the cochlear nerve at the internal auditory meatus, resulting in pulsatile tinnitus. More commonly, the anterior inferior cerebellar artery and vein cause compression ofthe cochlear nerve. Microvascular decompression appears to reduce the tinnitus. Dolichoectasia of the basilar artery is the cause of vertebrobasilar stroke from embolisation in 48% of patients, as well as the cause of facial and trigeminal neuralgia from seventh and fifth cranial nerve compression by the dilated artery in 39% of patients.
I've read that about 3% of tinnitus sufferers have pulsatile tinnitus (heartbeat or whooshing sound in one or both ears). Your doctor will usually send you to a ear nose & throat doctor for tests, to rule out anything serious. If they cannot find a cause (which is usually the case), the doctor will normally tell you that you will have to find a way to live with it. Some meds help and there are also maskers (something like a hearing aid) and other remedies the doctor may suggest. Most people I believe have found help with anti-anxiety medication. Someone even told me that coffee helps her p. tinnitus. Since an ear nose & throat doctor is a specialist, it sometimes takes several weeks to get an appt. to see him or her, so if you are concerned and think that maybe you have pulsatile tinnitus, it might be a good idea to book an appt. with your family doctor for an examination and possibly a referral to see an ent doctor.
Wow, Jack 51, that sounds scary. I'm 46 and I have had this problem since my mid-20's. I went to my regular Dr. at that time (it seemed to have started after a bad cold) and was told it was something I should learn to live with. Being young and naive I accepted that. I also read a few years later that this condition sometimes happes to people who've had braces and/or TMJ (I had just had braces at that time). It's most annoying, especially lately because I've been having rapid HR and palps, etc. It's also worse at night, lying down, when things are very quiet. White noise, like a fan, helps block it out.