Living with pulsatile tinnitus can be bothersome, especially when symptoms are impacting your daily life. Successfully managing pulsatile tinnitus doesn’t have to be complicated and an important part to this lies in understanding the condition more.
We interview our Head of Professional Advancement in Audiology, Gordon Harrison, to answer a handful of key questions about pulsatile tinnitus.
From your experience, what is the most common cause of pulsatile tinnitus that you have come across?
The most common cause I’ve seen of pulsatile tinnitus is usually in patients who suffer from cardiovascular problems, such as those stemming from conditions like hyperthyroidism.
What are the most common symptoms of pulsatile tinnitus?
People with pulsatile tinnitus tend to hear sounds which appear to follow a steady or rhythmical beat, similar to that of a pulse. Some people are even able to take their pulse by listening to this steady beat.
How would you advise someone to treat their pulsatile tinnitus, if they were specifically looking for natural remedies to treat their condition?
In regards to natural remedies, I’d advise looking at reducing salt in the diet and to look at vitamin intake. Natural remedies might include methods of relaxation such as acupuncture or yoga. Benefits of yoga include relaxing a patient’s muscles around their head and neck, which may help to relieve symptoms of pulsatile tinnitus.
Are there any treatments for pulsatile tinnitus that you would urge people to avoid? If so, why would you advise against trialling them?
I would advise people to avoid any treatments that claim to ‘cure’ tinnitus as, unfortunately, tinnitus is something that cannot be cured - only managed. There are plenty of treatments for pulsatile tinnitus that are proven to relieve symptoms that I would suggest instead.
You can find more information on tinnitus treatments here.
Can vitamin deficiency cause ringing of the ears? If so, can taking vitamins regularly help cure tinnitus symptoms and which vitamins would you recommend?
There is a link with tinnitus and vitamin deficiency although it is not definite that having a vitamin deficiency will cause tinnitus. Taking vitamin B12 supplements or magnesium can have a positive effect on relieving the symptoms of tinnitus but, as with any medication for tinnitus, it cannot cure it.
Are there any proven causes to the ringing of the ears getting louder while suffering from tinnitus?
Stress and anxiety can have a direct impact on the loudness of your tinnitus. In those situations where you might be stressed or anxious, you may perceive your tinnitus at a louder level in comparison to less stressful moments.
Is it possible for foods to impact tinnitus symptoms? Current theories suggest that drinking water and eating bananas can have positive effects on symptoms, whereas drinking coffee may have a negative effect. What are your thoughts on these theories?
It is thought that a diet rich in vitamins, potassium and zinc can have a positive impact on your tinnitus in the sense that it can often reduce the symptoms. Although these are all theories, my thoughts are and will always be: try and maintain a balanced diet.
If you find that your diet has high salt content, then look to reduce it. Additionally, where possible you should try to avoid caffeine such as coffee before bed or when feeling highly stressed or anxious.
In 2017 Gordon joined Specsavers as Head of professional advancement and group clinical lead for Audiology for the UK and Ireland and leads the clinical support team in our desire… Read more