How is Pulsatile Tinnitus Diagnosed?

It is important to provide the doctor with as much medical information as possible for him to make an accurate diagnosis of your condition. A blood test, FBC or full blood count is generally ordered to check for the possibility of anemia. Also, a series of hearing tests is generally recommended to determine if any hearing loss is present. Thyroid function tests, TFTs, determine if the thyroid gland is functioning properly.  If intracranial hypertension is suspected, opinions from other experts such as ophthalmologists or neurologists may be requested. Doctors who suspect this condition generally recommend some form of medical imaging. An ultrasound can indicate the blood flow within the blood vessels in the neck.

Magnetic resonance imaging or more commonly called MRI produces pictures of the head and neck to determine abnormalities. Magnetic Resonance Angiography or MRA produces images that can show any type of narrowing of the arteries. Computerized tomography or CT scan is helpful for producing detailed images, but the computerized tomographic angiography CTA produces detailed images inside the blood vessels by injecting the contrast dye. Imaging produces valuable information in helping the doctor make a correct diagnosis.

Tell your doctor if you hear a sound that is in sync with your heartbeat or pulse. Some people describe it as a whooshing sound that can be heard in one or both ears. It is classified as a symptom of a disorder rather than a disease. The underlying cause of pulsatile tinnitus may be more easily identified and treated successfully than regular tinnitus because it is usually related to some type of vascular disorder. The key difference between the two is the pulsing sound that is heard is in tune with the heartbeat. Over fifty percent of people who have been diagnosed with pulsatile tinnitus have a cause that can be treated. Also, this condition that may be the only symptom of a possible dangerous medical problem. It is important to have a thorough medical evaluation to exclude the possibility of a serious problem.