Ear Disorders Expert Forum
pulsatile tinnitus or sinus?
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Questions in the Ear Disorders forum are answered by Dr. Eric Wilkinson. Topics include acoustic neuroma, skull base tumors, hearing loss, cochlear implants, stapes surgery, eardrum repair, chronic ear infection, facial nerve problems, childhood deafness, vertigo, balance disorders, and tinnitus.

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pulsatile tinnitus or sinus?

Hello I am 28 years old and this is what is going on.
I have been sick on and off for the past 2 months, on March 5th my body gave up and my husband took me to the ER where they diagnosed me with pneumonia. Was put on antibiotics for 5 days and cough medication.  Four days later I realized I could hear an "ultrasound noise", how I can best describe it, and it was so loud it was scary, I had terrible headaches and started vomiting, so again to the ER where they did a CT scan without contrast and they found ild moucus on the left frontal sinuses, then they put me on antibiotics for another 10 days and oxycoden por pain.  The headaches have been worst, I feel pressure on the inside of my ear too and the noise is driving me insane, when I push down on my jugular vein, it stops.  I went back a wk later because I felt the pain down my neck to my shoulder and chest, they did and EKG was normal, then a carotid ultra sound and the doctor told me that what they found wasn't something to admitt me immediately but to go to a Neuro.  So I did, she didnt even touched me, but based on what I told her, she diagnosed me with Pulsatile Tinnitus, then they ordered a MRI/MRA with and without contrast, the nurse called me and said the doctor had asked to call me to let me know its negative....whats negative?? So frustrating!! So last nite was one of the worst the pains are killing me, I went to ENT today, they did audiogram and I passed nicely and all. He then says I sound like I have a "major sinus infection", doeas not even mention the tinnitus, and puts me on steroids and antibiotics for another week.
Am I on the right track here?  Can someone help me?
I appreciate it!

Arlene
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Any upper respiratory infection can worsen symptoms or bring new ones on.  If your tinnitus persists after your sinus/upper respiratory infection, you may need to have other tests done.  The fact that you can stop the tinnitus by pushing on your jugular vein indicates that this is probably what is called a "venous hum" due to a dominant venous system on that side.

If symptoms ultimately don't diminish, other tests that could be done include an MRV (looking at the venous system) or even a formal angiogram.  The farther you go, the more invasive the test.  

One option would be to wait until youu are far enough out from your URI so that you can judge how bad the symptoms are, and then decide on further opinions.

This is a frustrating problem, but hopefully with time your symptoms will diminish.

Hope this helps.  Good luck!

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical
advice - the information presented is for patients education only.
Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your
individual case.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
I never had any problems with my hearing until a bad ear infection about 5 years ago, the noise was just unbearable and lasted for several days. I also felt like I had a clogged up ear for many months, did some research on the net and found out about ETD go to http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/diseases/ear-nose-throat/eustachian-tube-dysfunction-etd

this can cause ringing noises, pain, fullness in the ear etc. What drove me crazy is
one doctor would look into my ear and see nothing, another told me there was fluid
behind the ear drum. Hopefully when the infection clears up you will be ok, if not like
me you will have to look for ans.

. I did some some relief when the doctor put me on a blood pressure med, my blood pressure had been a little high.
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373119_tn?1206937006
Negative means they didn't find an abnormality.
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