Get your health question answered instantly from our pool of 18000+ doctors from over 80 specialties
126 Doctors Online

By proceeding, I accept the Terms and Conditions

Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

HCM Blog Instant Access to Doctors
HCM BlogQuestions Answered
HCM Blog Satisfaction

Pulsating sound on plugging ears, faster than pulse rate, ear ringing. Hearing test done, normal. Causes for sound?

Answered by
Dr. Naveen Kumar

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 2433 Questions

Posted on Sat, 16 Jun 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: when i plug my ears i can hear a rapid pulsating sound. its approximately 4-5 times faster than my pulse rate. is this normal? thanks.
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 1 hour later

Thanks for the query

Rapid pulsating of the sound (also known as pulsatile tinnitus) occurs due to various causes; to mention a few - atherosclerosis, palatal myoclonus, small vessel disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.
This can be either pathological or non-pathological;
1.     Block in the external auditory canal reduces the background noise enabling us to hear the sounds produced inside the skull.
2.     Sometimes narrowing of the small blood vessels give rise to whooshing type of pulsatile tinnitus, which are heard in a quiet environment. Secondly, when these sounds combine with the sounds produced by the weakening of the inner ear apparatus, there is this tinnitus.
3.     Finally, palatal myoclonus which is the spasm of the muscles in the soft palate, can also cause pulsatile sounds which are rapid (around 60-200 beats per minute), repetitive and intermittent.

Hence, without a complete examination of the ear it is very difficult to pin point the exact cause of your problem. I would suggest you to consult a good ENT specialist for the same.

Hope I have answered your query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Naveen Kumar 21 minutes later
I recently went in for a hearing test due to experienced ringing in my ear and everything was said to be normal. Its suspected that the ringing has to due to muscle tension in my nech and upper back and can be relieved by stretching these areas. This pulsating sound can only be heard when I plug my ears with my fingers. I can't make it disappear and only notice it when my ears are plugged.
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 20 hours later

Thanks for writing back.

As I had mentioned in my previous post, one of the causes of pulsatile tinnitus could be the muscle spasms. And sometimes, when it is combined with the sounds emitted by the inner ear cochlea the sounds can be harrowing.

These sounds are most commonly heard when the ears are plugged, which is due to the cancellation of the masking back ground noise. You can try doing neck stretching exercises, also drink plenty of water, avoid smoking and take medicines such as Vitamin B-Complex containing Ginkobiloba which can reduce the tinnitus.

Hope, this helps to solve your query. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Jyoti Patil

The User accepted the expert's answer

Share on
Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions ,   ,  

Recent questions on  Myoclonus

doctor1 MD

In recent months I have noticed myoclonic jerks in my upper and lower limbs. Recently the jerks have included my torso and occasionally my neck. I...

doctor1 MD

Our daughter is almost 9 years old and wakes up at night, about 1-2 hours after easily falling asleep, with myoclonic activity. She s had a...

doctor1 MD

I am 46 years old, male, 5-8, 190 pounds and having trouble with myoclonus type symptoms--left ear twitching at or near eardrum off and on, a...

doctor1 MD

I have cervical mild spinal cord stenosis c3-7, bilateral radiculopathy and having sleep onset myoclonus and brain zaps (not connected to SSRI as...

doctor1 MD

Having trouble with my right ear. Went to ENT and they said there wasn't any sign of fluid or infection. It feels like my ear is slightly full and...

doctor1 MD

On XXXXXXX 7, my husband started having problems with his gait--sudden onset, progressive weakness. On XXXXXXX 27 he contracted pneumonia and was...

doctor1 MD

This weekend I started having what I call "jerking" or "flinching" around my eyes and become dizzy for about a second. It isn't a physical jerk,...