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Swishing noises in ears intermittently, no change after wax removal. Should an ultrasound of carotid arteries check near ears?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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I hear swishing noises in both ears intermittently. It almost always is when I'm sleeping (andit wakes me) or within an hour or two fter I rise in the morning. My ears have been checked by an ENT--just a slight bit of wax removed--no change. I've had an uptrasound check of my carotid arteries, but they did not check up close to my ear where supposedly the artery comes within 1/8th of an inch to the ears--just read that. Should they have followed the artery test up to that point? Or is there another test they can do? It began in the 80's (when an ENT said it ws from venous insufficiency) and then subsided but now it is back and has been for about a year.
Posted Mon, 16 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. In cases of pulsatile or vascular tinnitus, an MR Angiography is required to see the full course of all the blood vessels in the neck and brain.

2. Atherosclerosis causing turbulent blood flow in the carotid arteries is only one of many causes of tinnitus. Cervical spondylosis usually affects the basilar arteries which travel through the cervical spine. If the sounds wake you in the morning, get cervical spine x-rays done and use a different pillow height and type to see whether the tinnitus changes / subsides.

3. If the sound can be heard by others, it is known as objective tinnitus. There is no cure for tinnitus however in certain cases, it can be controlled.

4. Decreased hearing also makes one more aware of tinnitus. Get a PTA (Pure Tone Audiogram) done. If you have a hearing loss, amplification may help mask the tinnitus. You may also get middle ear pressure checked (Impedance Audiometry).

5. Your tinnitus may also be as a result of side effect or interaction of multiple medication. You should discuss this with your physicians.

6. Common tinnitus therapy includes ginkgo biloba, multivitamins and antioxidants.

7. Trans-tympanic steroids and Caroverine Injection (Tinnex) are effective in some patients.

Hope, I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

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