Pulsatile Tinnitus

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Diagnosing and Treating Pulsatile Tinnitus

A patient with pulsatile tinnitus should undergo a thorough medical evaluation, including an examination of the head and neck, by a physician familiar with the condition. The goal is to identify the cause of the pulsatile tinnitus and rule out any serious underlying conditions.

In addition to the patient’s medical history and targeted clinical examination, imaging procedures may also play an important role in diagnosing pulsatile tinnitus, including:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Magnet resonance angiography (MRA)
  • Magnetic resonance venography (MRV)
  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Computerized tomographic angiography (CTA)
  • Angiography


Sometimes imaging results do not reveal abnormalities and further examination and investigation is necessary. Blood tests may also be needed to rule out anemia or thyroid problems.

Once the underlying cause of the pulsatile tinnitus is identified, the appropriate treatment can be prescribed. (See AVM, Brain Tumors in Adults, and Pseudotumor Cerebri.)

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Reviewed by: Athos Patsalides, MD
Last reviewed/updated: June 2016