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Pulsatile Tinnitis

Tinnitus is a noise or ringing in the ear that may be associated with age-associated hearing loss.

Pulsatile tinnitus is also ringing in the ear, but can be described as a "swishing sound" that usually beats with the heart. The sound may be aggravated with exercise, as the heart rate increases, for example. Sometimes the sound is so intense that it may be disruptive to a person's sleep or daily life. One of the causes may be due to the sound of blood flowing through vessels transmitted near the ear. Often, diagnosis of the cause of pulsatile tinnitus involves the imaging of the vascular system of the head and neck.

CT or MRI are usually the first tests that can be used to evaluate the ear anatomy and its surrounding blood vessels. If these tests do not reveal a cause of the tinnitus, cerebral angiography may be considered, particularly for patients who have severe symptoms. Diseases such as dural arteriovenous fistulasigmoid sinus diverticulum or glomus tympanicum may be detected with angiography.

BMC Pulsatile Tinnitus Physicians

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Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery

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Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Medicine
Special Interests:

Pediatric Otolaryngology, Chronic Sinusitis, Allergy, Salivary Gland Disorders, Snoring and Sleep Surgery

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Director, Interventional Neuroradiology and Interventional Neurology

Associate Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Radiology
Boston University School of Medicine
Special Interests: Acute stroke intervention; Cerebral aneurysms and AVMs; Carotid stenting; Dural AV fistulas, Embolization of nose bleeds & head/neck tumors; Neurocritical care; Vasospasm; Vertebroplasty