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Swollen veins on forehead with pressure, numb ears with ringing. Had excess exposure to noise. Is this the cause?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
Answered : 2390 Questions
Dr.: Last Evening my veins on both sides of my temples suddenly swelled. They are about 1 1/2 " long on each temple and protrude noticably. I have no real pain, but only an uncomfortable pressure feeling in my temples. I check my blood pressure last night and this morning and it was apx. 120/78 both times. I have never or do not have now any other vein swelling. I was exposed to the loud noise of my deisel tractor yesterday for 4 hours, longer than ever before. This to the extent my ears were numb and ringing when done, and I told myself that from now on I would wear ear protection. One symptom I did read that could cause this is excessive exposure to noise. Is this a real possibility and do you think I should get this checked out right away, or wait to see if it goes away? I am 62 years old and in excellent health otherwise. Thanks, XXXXXXX.
Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 8 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. Prominent, tortuous blood vessels in the temple area are commonly seen with advancing age. These blood vessels include the superficial temporal veins and artery.

2. Stress from prolonged exposure to noise may lead to increased blood flow through these vessels. Get your heating tested to see whether the ear numbness and ringing are significant. You should wear ear protection because exposure to more than 8 hours to sounds above 80 dB may damage your hearing permanently.

3. If there are no other symptoms, only observation and follow up is necessary. If you have any pain, headache, tenderness at the temple area, body ache, blurred vision then Temporal Arteritis must be ruled out. Non-specific symptoms include fever, malaise, memory impairment, anorexia, weight loss, fatigue, and depression. In Temporal Arteritis, the blood ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) and CRP (C-Reactive protein) levels are usually raised. Imaging studies include ultrasound (Halo Sign) and 3 Tesla MRI. A vessel biopsy confirms the diagnosis and the treatment includes steroids.

4. Your blood pressure readings are excellent for your age. Thinning of the skin and loss of fat with age may make normal blood vessels more prominent. These may look like varicose veins in the temples, however, no treatment is necessary. Some patients may seek treatment on cosmetic grounds.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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