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Pulsatile Tinnitus - constant 'whooshing' sound in ear

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Anyone familiar with this condition? I am looking for input on any possible more natural solutions. I don't really know if there are ANY solutions, but I keep hoping there will be some natural way to resolve it and be done with it.

Pulsatile tinnitus is a whooshing sound in the ear, very much as though (and perhaps it is) you're hearing your own heartbeat. For me, I can't really hear it in noisy situations, but I can still feel a sort of pressure in the ear. At night, when the house is quieter, it drives me NUTS.

It started after a pretty severe upper respiratory infection (bad enough that when swine flu was "discovered" a month or so later I seriously considered that I may have had it - though in reality swine flu turned out by most accounts to not be as bad as the infection I had). I had immense pain in my ear and painful throat, plus all the usual URI stuff. I tried everything natural I could and finally saw a GP and got abx. I got better by the end of the week or ten days of abx, but a week later, it was back. I did NOT go back for more abx, and it came and went, came and went with this horrible ear pain and typically related throat pain. I finally kicked it for good after my chiro recommended doubling up on zinc and vitamin A.

But, I'm left with this incessant whooshing sound. I can make it stop if I tilt my head to the side that's affected, or if I'm wearing earplugs (which I do nightly b/c my DH snores and I'm a fairly light sleeper), or plug the ear with a finger, or press on my neck below my ear. I know it can be caused by blood pressure issues, but my BP has been fine. So I suspect it is the result of this infection, either damaging the ear or residual fluid still there, maybe?

I have had my chiro try to adjust the ear but nothing happens. I'm not sure if it's just not needing adjustment, or is super stuck? I think it's the former as she's never recommended further treatment.

I have considered seeing an osteopath who does manipulation. I am also (finally) slated to go see a GP on Thursday, because I can't cope with this much longer. I figured I'd start there before seeing an ENT, at least. I don't have a relationship with a GP at this point, so I've been hesitant to go in.

Is it worth seeing an osteopath? Are there other things I can do? I have had friends recommend candling but it is NOT a wax issue. I do have chronic sinus issues, but that's the story of my life... and I've never had this before.

I very much appreciate any input! Thanks!
post #2 of 39
Subbing to see what suggestions people have. Tinnitus really sucks!!! Hope it goes away for you soon. Sorry I have no answers for you!
post #3 of 39
Regular tinnitus is sometimes caused by getting low in B12, and sublingual B12 (not cyanocobalamin, probably either methyl or hydroxycobalamin) would be the thing to do. Plenty of times I've seen the kids get low in nutrients due to an illness, but I'm not sure if the kind of tinnitus you're describing falls into that category.
post #4 of 39
Personally I would go see an Otolaryngologist. I think you should find out exactly what is causing it. Read the quote below.


Tinnitus is not a disease; but a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes that can include: ear infections, foreign objects or wax in the ear, nose allergies that prevent (or induce) fluid drain and cause wax build-up. Tinnitus can also be caused by natural hearing impairment (as in aging), as a side-effect of some medications, and as a side-effect of genetic (congenital) hearing loss. However, the most common cause for tinnitus is noise-induced hearing loss.
This has some excellent info too.


They have some suggestions for using white noise.

Having said that, I still think you need to find out exactly what is causing it.
post #5 of 39
This sounds very similar to what I´ve been dealing with ever since having my first sinus infection starting in January, 2005 and to make a long story short, what I have is a blocked Eustachian Tube - a complication stemming from a prolonged sever sinus infection. I was delayed a couple weeks in getting treatment simply because I didn´t know what it was because I never had one before - dizziness and an excruciating headache.

Finally someone told me, you probably have a sinus infection and need to go to the doctor. He prescribed a combo. of mucinex, and a low dose steroid treatment and a nasal spray. I did everything but the steroid because it freaked me out, but it didn´t kick it, so I finally went ahead and did the steroid treatment (5 days) and that finally did it, but I was left with the pressure/noise in my right ear.

After a LONG time - months and months (we were moving and it always passed me by), I finally saw an otolaryngologist and he determined that I had a blocked eustachian tube that never opened up after the infection - and that this sometimes happens after a prolonged, severe infection.

I had always had this symptom - you know, when you get sick and your ears get blocked, etc...but then you get better and they open up. Well, this time it didn´t open up on my right side.

He said I could try another round of treatment, but that after such a long time, it was doubtful it would open up again. He also said that there is a small procedure to place a tube in the eustachian tube to open it up again and, therefore, get rid of the sound.

I spoke to my sister-in-law who is a pediatric otolaryngologist at Mass Eye and Ear and she said "NO WAY!" You should NEVER try to fool around with the eustachian tube like that and that most Otolarygologists wouldn´t even do that procedure.

However, she did say there is a procedure to install a tube in the EAR DRUM that would be MUCH safer and, at least, get rid of the annoying sound (that might have been what he had said - we live in Peru now and it was in Spanish, so I might have missed that detail).

When I finally figured all this out I was pregnant and am still BFing, so I haven´t done anything about it, but it is still there - over 5 yrs. later. It´s much worse when I have seasonal allergy issues and obviously more noticeable/present when I lie down on that side. I am consantly holding my nose and blowing to aleviate the pressure. I´m definitely bummed out about it and hope I can get the procedure eventually to get rid of that noise.

But yes, this is definitely something you should see and Otolaryngologist for.
post #6 of 39
Seems like there is lots of good advice here.

I would say that candling can help even if it's not a wax issue, because the heat will have a drawing/drying effect. I had reductions in ear pressure (following ear infection/burst drum) when I candled. Be careful, though. I did burn the carpet ($75 repair) because DH, who was supposed to be watching the candle, was engrossed in Family Guy.
post #7 of 39
I forgot to mention I have had popping in my ears for several years now. Started after an ear infection in my left. Then I had an ear infection in the right and got the popping in that ear too. It is so annoying!

Anyhow, I finally decided to see an ENT a month ago. He said it's related to my allergies. So they did allergy testing and yes I do have alot of allergies. He wanted to start me on STIM but I cut and ran. I didn't like this Doctor at all.

So yesterday I took my allergy results and hearing test to an Otolaryngologist. LOVE HER! She took alot of time and looked in my nose (after doing an anthesia). She seems to think it is related to my allergys but wants to try other things first (two different nasal sprays and saline rinse 2 times a day). Then she wants to see me in a month to re-evaluate everything.
post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input! I really appreciate it.

I think I'm going to go to the GP (it's cheap), and see if they see anything notable. I am planning to see the osteopath, who says she thinks from my description that it is more structural (it is definitely NOT a hearing issue). It's NOT cheap, but it might work and is certainly non-invasive. If none of that affords me answers, I will find an otolaryngologist.

post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 
Well, I saw a nice GP today. I am NOT crazy.

She had a hard time telling what all is actually wrong (as I expected), but there ARE obvious signs of an issue. Likely unrelated is a bit of otitis externa (infection in the outer canal, close to the tympanic membrane). Apparently the tympanic membrane on that side is also "sucked in" a bit, which she said can happen when there's fluid that dries up, basically. Typically, they'd use steroids to fix it. But, um, not now. She does think there may be some fluid behind it, too. She tested my hearing and it's a bit off on that side compared to the other. With one thing and another, she did suggest there may be an issue with the eustachian tube. When she used a tuning fork to test hearing and placed it behind the ear, it actually felt really good! Almost like it was loosening things up.

Anyway, she had nothing to offer as far as treatment (other than abx drops for outer ear, but I'm going to try natural stuff first), but recommended exploring other modalities. So I think I'll go see the osteopath who does manipulation and see if that will help.

At least, I know I'm not crazy. It's not wax (I have basically none, she said, as I suspected), there's no tumor, and there IS something up with it. Now we just find the person who can fix it.
post #10 of 39
Glad you got some answers and can work on fixing the issue. And nope, you're not crazy!
post #11 of 39
Good luck! It sounds like you´ve found a really good GP, anyway...
post #12 of 39
I had this about a year ago and saw an ENT. She said it was stress related. It made me nuts! I couldnt sleep. Masking it really helps, sleeping with a fan on, things like that. Mine went away as mysteriously as it started. Make sure you don't concentrate on it. That makes it worse. All I heard for days was woosh woosh woosh
post #13 of 39
Yep, masking can really help. One issue I have is a constant high pitched squeal in my head, which sounds soooo loud when it's quiet at night. WhenI can't stand it I use the TV but think I'll start using a fan instead.

Hugs to everyone with this dratted issue!
post #14 of 39

Any updates? I too suffer from Pulsatile Tinnitus and have been to every dr out there! It's suspected I have a narrowing of a vein in my neck, but no one knows for sure.  Regardless, the whooshing drives me nuts and some days it's unbearable.  Like you, if I turn my head a certain way or hold my neck under the ear, the sound disappears.  When stormy weather is approaching or if it's humid, the sound is even worse.  Any update def appreciated!

post #15 of 39

Hi there-


Well, yes, what you said I found to be true.  After finally going back to the ENT for other things, I mentioned it and he told me that it was not that my Eustacian tube was permanently blocked, but that the sound was coming from my vein that was just close to that spot. It goes away when I put my hand over the vein, too, and yes, worse when humid or congested. For me, the city I live in doesn´t help - Lima, Peru - one of the MOST humid places possible (not the cleanest air either).


I have found that time (lots - it´s been 6 years) has improved things a bit. Getting a handle on a lot of allergy/sinus issues that went unattended for a while has also helped. One really bad infection started everything, so after that my sinuses have remained very sensitive and get blocked easily now (again, living in Lima really doesn´t help).


Additionally, I started seeing someone that does biomagnetism, craniosacral therapy and flower essences. I started seeing him for other health issues and the therapy helped unbelievably - not only for those - but I eventually started to notice my allergy/sinus issues were improving greatly  - and therefore the wooshing sound become far less prominent. If you can find someone that does biomagnesitsm, I highly recommend it - for ANY reason. It has been impressively effective for me in many ways.


The sound is still there from time to time, but most of the time I don´t notice it. That one sinus infection just set everything off and I don´t expect it to magically disappear completely anytime soon, unfortunately.



post #16 of 39

What exactly is biomagnetism? I'm intrigued (and desperate!)

I can't believe that a sinus infection could set off such a sound for so long - i'm very prone to sinus infections. But because of the link with the vein, it's just been assumed that's what is causing mine.  Since surgery isn't an option, I'm desperate for an alternative!

Thanks. Any more help would be awesome.  Know of anyone in New York/New Jersey who might practice biomagnetism? Maybe your practitioner can recommend someone?



post #17 of 39

Well, this is probably not the best definition, but biomagnetism is basically a form of magnet therapy. The practitionar gets a sense of certain parts of your body that need attention and then places certain magnets on specific points in order to detoxify the circulatory system so that the immune system can function at its optimum level. All I know is it has worked for me immensely!


I have actually had a hard time finding practitioners in the States (when I recommended it to others). They definitely aren´t listed like yoga or reiki practitioners. I am going to ask my guy if he knows how I could find someone there. I would imagine the NY/NJ would be a likely place to find people who do it. Other than that, I´d start asking around - maybe at alternative health care centers...even if they don´t do it, maybe someone knows someone who does?


As far as the sinus infection goes, the sound is basically something I´ve always had whenever I got sick and congested, then I would get better and it would go away. But after the very prolonged and sever infection, I realized it just never went away...definitely a bummer. I first got told the eustacian tube was blocked but then the other ENT said it was the vein. If you are prone to sinus infections, maybe you are never fully getting decongested. I know it´s been an issue for me ever since. When I started taking Allegra for a bit I noticed a BIG difference and the wooshing noise became less and less. SoI guess the sinus infection set off an extra sensitivity in the whole sinus area - and because of the location of the vein, the sound hasn´t fully disappeared as it used to before I ever had any sinus issues at all (hope that all makes sense).


I´ll get back to you if I hear anything about biomagnetism practitioners...

post #18 of 39

Tinnitus in women may be related to menopause and other hormonal imbalances! Tinnitus and women’s hearing in menopause


post #19 of 39
Originally Posted by sarahdavida View Post


I´ll get back to you if I hear anything about biomagnetism practitioners...


OK. Well, I asked my practitioner about people in the USA who do biomagnetism and he said the doctor who invented it has just started trying to get a Visa to do training in the USA (he is Mexican). So, that is why I´ve had so much trouble finding someone there - there isn´t anyone (seemingly)! Unbelievable - I never would have figured that.


My next suggestion would be Reiki, if you can find a very good practitioner. I didn´t have experience with Reiki for this issue, but for others it was also impressively effective (recurerent mastitis and breastfeeding issues, lingering back issues after an epidural and just being sick a lot, in general). And to reiterrate, any allergy/sinus issues you can get under control would definitely help to ease the problem.


Good luck!

post #20 of 39

I have the exact same problem!!!! I've had it for over a year and a half, it started after a upper respiratory infection and a round of antibiotics. I also either tilt my head or hold my finger to my neck so I can stop the swooshing and enjoy a movie or have a conversation that is hopefully not held at a place with a lot of backround noise!! I have now seen a ENT, Ophthalmologist and a Neurologist who has made me take every test on earth!!! They think it could be Pseudo tumor cerebri but I don't fit any of the criteria. I'm not over weight, I don't get headaches, not dizzy and have no vision loss. So after hearing test that I passed, vision test that I killed, CT scan with contrast that I had an allergic reaction to, MRI that came out clear my neurologist want's me to get an MRV and blood work. If you find out what it is tell me PLEASE! It would save me a lot of time and money lol! Good luck...

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