We are seeing patients in-person and through Video Visits. Learn more about how we’re keeping you safe and please review our updated visitor policy. Please also consider supporting Weill Cornell Medicine’s efforts to support our front-line workers.

Pulsatile Tinnitus

You are here

Symptoms of Pulsatile Tinnitus

Pulsatile tinnitus may manifest as different sounds for different patients. Some describe it as a low-pitched sound, like the sound of someone marching in the snow; others describe a much higher, screeching sound, like that made by birds. Whatever the pitch or intensity, the sounds associated with pulsatile tinnitus are in synch with the pulse.

Some patients with pulsatile tinnitus also suffer from idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH, also known as pseudotumor cerebri), which is a condition that consists of high pressure in the fluid around the brain and is characterized by headaches, dizziness, hearing loss, and visual disturbances.

Anyone experiencing symptoms such as these should be examined by a qualified physician, including an interventional neuroradiologist and otolaryngologist (ENT). If the cause of pulsatile tinnitus is identified as venous sinus stenosis (narrowing of a vein in the brain), a minimally invasive treatment in which a stent is inserted into the narrowed vein can restore healthy blood flow and eliminate symptoms. (Find out more about this surgery.) If the cause is a tumor, AVM, high blood pressure, or other identifiable condition, treating that condition often resolves the tinnitus.

Find out more about diagnosing and treating pulsatile tinnitus.

Request an Appointment | Refer a Patient

Reviewed by: Srikanth Boddu, MD, MSc
Last reviewed/updated: August 2020