Skip to content
Includes Expert Content
Loud Heart Beat
SusanMaree posted:
For several months now I can hear my heart beating very loudly in my right ear. I hear swooshing too. It is hard to go to sleep because of it. I have also noticed that my hearing in that ear is deteriorating by about half. I am going to make an appointment for a hearing test, but when I went to the ENT about the pounding, they said it was tinnitus. They cleaned the ear out and it did nothing to help the problem. Can anyone tell me what does help? Thank you.
Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
You may have a condition called PULSATILE TINNITUS. This can be a very difficult conditon to treat unless you know the source.

Pulsatile tinnitus can be caused by many medical conditions. The body is not really quiet, so when conditions are right (very quiet environment), some people can hear their heartbeat, however, there are some medical conditions, some serious, that can cause pulsatile symptoms.

Vascular abnormalities -- a problem with an adjacent artery or vein (the jugular vein has a pulsation is high on the list of causes). Glomus tumors (a non-cancerous growth in or near the blood vessels) are occasionally found. Carotid stenosis (closing or narrowing of this neck artery) can cause pulsatile symptoms.
There are other causes, including hypertension (high blood pressure), patulous Eustachian tubes (open tubes leading from throat to ear), palatomyoclonus (spasms of muscles in the soft palate) and stapedial muscle spasm (the tiny muscle attached to the stapes bone in the middle ear).

In order for you to be properly evaluated, it may be best for you to see an ENT associated with a large, university-based medical center. Usually, the collaborative resources at these large institutions are better for these more difficult to diagnose (and treat) disorders.

Helpful Tips

Your Home Black BagExpert
Doctors used to carry black bags containing all the medical tools they would need for a home visit. Of course, that rarely happens anymore. ... More
Was this Helpful?
32 of 54 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Focus on Flu

Find answers to your questions about seasonal flu issues and answers to your concerns about the flu season and H1N1...Read More

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.