Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Pulsatile tinnitus

Google search engines are annoying. A character in City of Whispers heard a shushing sound in his ears. I have been tying to find words to describe ear sounds and thought perhaps it was shushing. Google search insisted I meant whooshing and I had to use that trick I learned somewhere -whooshing to get the engine to give me results with the word shushing, not whooshing.

One of the results I checked was actually a forum or former former comments. Someone mentioned hearing heartbeat in ears, usually when lying down to go to sleep. Bells Palsy was mentioned, but perhaps that had nothing to do with the discussion about ear sounds. A little research, I came upon,pulsatile tinnitus tinnitus, seemingly hearing one's heartbeat.

When I was a child, I lay awake frightened, thinking ghosts were marching up stairs to my ears. Do not know when I became aware that it was actually the sound of my heart beating. That has happened a lot in this apartment. I would get so angry; pillow over head, earplugs, arm over pillow pressing it down, to drown out neighbors thumping drum beats or other noises, only to be unable to fall to sleep, due to the loud heart beating.

The only way I could get it to stop was removing earplug from ear I lying on. Which meant I would be hearing John's ~ usually it was John ~ television drone or radio bass booming.

Pulsatile tinnitus happens when blood flow increases, through the jugular vein and carotid artery, which thickens the walls. This makes these blood passages closer to the auditory parts, which causes the heart beat sound.

I do know I get regular ringing in the ears tinnitus. I assumed due to aging. If I have normal elderly hearing loss, I hate to think how loud the neighbors noises would sound if my hearing was normal. Dang. But there are other causes, such as exposure to loud noises (factory work, band night waitress work for me, perhaps), neck injury (whip lash after being rear ended), caffeine, anxiety, medications and more.

From reading various search results, I am sure those strange, starling metallic sounding noises I sometimes hear as I am drifting off to sleep are probably related to tinnitus. The outside the ear noise I describe as clicking is not the one I have been struggling to describe. As several people wrote, glad they found out they were not the only ones who heard their own heartbeat when lying down to sleep, I am curious if this other noise is normal.


Whoosher said...

See www.Whooshers.com to learn more about pulsatile tinnitus. It is distinct from the regular, more common form of tinnitus.

alyceclover said...

Thank you. I still need to listen to the rest of the sound bites. Another noise that I have difficulty describing is likely a heart whoosh sound.

It does not affect me, other than wondering if it was something normal people hear. The metallic like sudden sounds just as I drift off to sleep, do disturb me ~ I startle easy, then find it hard to fall to sleep.