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Pulsing Noise in Ear from Seasonal Allergies
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tamle9 posted:
Hi Dr. Moser,

I originallly wrote to you 2+ years ago when I developed "hissing" tinnitus after a bad head cold which plugged up my left ear for over a week. I have managed over time to block out the hissing noise and am happy to say that most of the time I am not even aware of it. When the weather is dry and cold it tends to get louder for some reason, but I cope with it. However, for the last two weeks I have been experiencing a pulsing noise (pulsatile tinnitus?) and sharp intermittent pain in this same ear. After a trip to the dr. (after experiencing sharp ear pain and some sinus pain), it was determined there was no ear infection, possibly a low grade sinus infection, and I was very congested - due most likely to seasonal allergies. My question to you is, could this pulsing be due to the congestion from seasonal allergies - I've been using the Neti Pot and taking Claritin D for two weeks and I don't seem to be getting anywhere. I've experienced this pulsing before in the winter when I am congested but it has always gone away within a couple of hours. I have scared myself into thinking that this pulsing is permanent and have read so many horrible things on the Internet. Any light you can shed is welcome!
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
There are a lot of horrible things you can find on the Internet, so it is best to stick with the medical sites to read and review. Hissing, as you know, can be a form of tinnitus....and so can the pulsatile types.

There can be numerous causes of the PT (pulsatile tinnitus), assuming this is what you have, from middle ear effusion (fluid), ear infections (which, apparently, you do not have), to just hearing a branch of the adjacent jugular vein (this vein, like an artery, has a pulsation that can be heard). As you may know, allergies and colds can cause middle ear fluid, but again, I would not have any way of determining if this was the underlying cause of your symptoms in your case.

You best bet if these symptoms continue is to go directly to an ENT -- someone who has the skill and expertise to sort out the many causes of PT (including ruling out the bad things your read about).
 
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tamle9 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Dr. Moser,

As a follow-up, visited my dr. this afternoon who, upon looking in my ear and seeing a very dull eardrum, proclaimed I have some fluid behind my ear from my allergies. He says the "pulsing" is a symptom he hears about a lot with people having sinus/allergy issues. I'm on a course of Flonase and antibiotic with a ENT appointment scheduled for Hallowen (first opening they had) in case things do not resolve.......I'm hoping I will be able to cancel.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to tamle9's response:
You are on track, now.....if your symptoms resolve, you can probably cancel that ENT visit, but it is good to have it on the books.

Let's hope the medicine helps.
 
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tamle9 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Good morning Dr. Moser,

Finished my course of antibiotics and still using Flonase - although the pulsing is still there it may be getting a little quieter. Didn't hear it at all last night but it seems louder this morning (although it has always been a little louder in the morning - not sure if lying down all night has something to do with it). Have also been getting a lot of thick whiet drainage the last couple of days. Keeping my fingers crossed. I read that your tinnitus is pulsatile from time to time - do you find that when it is pulsatile it lasts for a long period of time??
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to tamle9's response:
As you know, everyone is different. My tinnitis is rarely pulsatile. It is constant...24/7. The fact that yours changes, or even abates from time to time could indicate thAt yours will eventually self-resolve. We can always hope.
 
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tamle9 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Dr. Moser,

Since it has been 3 weeks I wanted to follow up and let you know how I am progressing in the hopes that someone else who may ready thet gets some positive feelings. Saw a new ENT in our area who was awesome!!! After looking in my ears (which were fine), in my mouth (which I had thrush in from my antibiotics) and finally up my nose (which took him all of 2 seconds to say - you have allergies - based on my dull and swollen nasal passage) he felt that my pulsing was coming from a blocked and/or swollen Eustachian tube and that we could try a round of Prednisone to bring down the swelling. After a week of Prednsone (Flonase, Zyrtec D and neti pot washes also) my pulsing had quieted down - still there, but quieter. After speaking to the good Dr. he decided a second round of Prednisone might be in order. I have 3 days left and am happy to see I think my pulsing is on it's way out. Still there in the morning more prominently when waking (due to congestion) and when working out (which isn't often enough). This Dr. was quick to assure me that "pulsatile tinnitus" while it does exist, is generally temporary and is quite a common complaint among those with allergies and cold symptoms. The "bad" reasons for pulsatile tinnitus are quite rare and he himself sees about 1 case per year. Thank you for listening!!!
 
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tamle9 replied to tamle9's response:
Dr. Moser,

Sorry to be a pest - the ENT also mentioned doing an MRI if the pulsing did not resolve - he didn't think it was warranted at this time though based on my seasonal allergy symptoms. He also said (at the first visit) that 3 weeks of pulsing was "nothing" he has seen it go on for 2 months when related to eustachian tube issues.

He is the first ENT I have seen that I felt really answered all my questions and took the time to listen and make suggestions.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to tamle9's response:
I am so happy that you found a good ENT. Make sure to tell HIM that he was an awesome doctor....it will make his day!
 
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biba89 replied to tamle9's response:
Hi tamle9
I just read your post and i am having a little that maybe my pulsating will also go away. 2 months ago, i underwent a double jaw surgery, and since then i have this pulsing in my head/left ear. Anxiety hit me, i started foccusing on this noise. My life turned upside down. I don't eat or sleep. I gave on my two kids. I see that your tinnitus has cleared, did it come back after treatment. Did you have any side affects with the medication. I have an appointment with an ENT this thursday, i am hoping he'l be as good as yours and cure me. I am really worried about this. I read some horrible stories about this, and made my condition even worse. Please help me. Thank you very much.


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