One sided pulsatile tinnitus: visit to ENT

This may be a double post - thought I'd posted about it yesterday, but it can't find it, so please be gentle with me. I've been aware of rather annoying "whooshing" in my left ear since the beginning of the year. It seems to be in the same rythym as my heart beating, and sounds very like what you hear if taking blood pressure the old fashioned way with a stethoscope. The tinnitus stops if I press against the mastoid bone behind the ear, or on that side of the neck.

I saw my GP and she referred me to ENT, where I had my appointment yesterday. I had my hearing tested first, then saw the doctor. After she took a family history, and a record of all my meds, she showed me that the hearing tests demonstrated markedly asymetrical results. No hearing loss that I'm aware of, but it seems there is. The doc wants to check on the nerves and blood vessels.

So, I'm referred for an MRI of the head area. The doc asked if I was claustrophobic and I decided I wasn't any more claustrophobic than anyone else. After, I googled what an MRI of the head involves. I didn't realise how long they could take 😱 Has anyone had such an MRI? Any tips?

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  • I really didn't expect a referral from the GP because the ear gives no pain and there's no infection. The noise is just annoying. My new GPs are very clear that they don't have enough experience of anything auto immune related, hence the referral. I hope you can get further with your GP after getting your dentist's advice x The clinic yesterday said that if my MRI doesn't show any problems, then it's just something to live with (as in most tinnitus cases I understand)

  • Yes. Been there, done that and it's nothing to be scared about I promise.

    I expect you have been referred for an MRI of your ear canals, nerves etc. My MRI took about 15 mins Max, that's from me going to the appointment and leaving. I was given ear plugs to dim the noise because it can be a little noises.

    They essentially will be wanting to rule out an acoustic neuroma (do not freak about this). The team are just following guideline that if a patient presents with tinnitus, especially worse on one side they get an MRI to rule out an acoustic neuroma. This is an exceptionally rare finding.

    My MRI was normal and the ENT Consultant explained to me that Lupus can cause inflammation of the nerves in the ear, which in turn causes tinnitus. Whenever I'm in a flare I get tinnitus, if I increase my steroids then it goes. I also have EDS which can cause problems with tinnitus.

    Basically, she said any Connective tissue disease can cause tinnitus due to the inflammatory process.

    I hope it goes ok for you. Please don't worry. The team that you are under are following guidelines and investigating you. At least they aren't dismissing your symptoms.

    Since being discharged from ENT I have been referred to the tinnitus clinic to see if they have any gadgets to help me. I'm kind of hoping to meet Q from the Bond films!!

    Good luck and don't worry x

  • πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ grrrreat explanation! I first had this explained by ENT, but not as well as you've explained it. You're possibly familiar with this website:

    πŸ˜˜πŸ€πŸ˜˜πŸ€ coco

  • Really, really helpful happytulip 🌈 I'm not worried that they'll find anything, less surprised now that they are going to have a look, and soooooo relieved that it'll be so fast. I'm really not claustrophobic in general, just somewhat averse to a clanking metal box x

    Do they tell you when the noise is going to happen? Or is the noise continuous? I may not be able to keep still if it's a sudden crash x

  • Yes I've had this MRI scan. But you can request for an "open MRI scaner"? That way you won't be claustrophobic? I will also had the full 40 full body, metal coffin job.

    The head scan was 10 mins from set up to Finnish no big deal. They are checking to make sure you don't have any brain tumours that affect hearing? It's no big deal honestly. Don't get worked up.

  • Hi i've had two MRIs and i'm very claustrophobic .they do take time but if you tell the staff that you might feel a bit claustrophobic they will attach a mirror just above your head so you can see the room in front of you ,it worked wonders for me. Good luck .Elfie

  • I have - but I closed my eyes and wished I could go to sleep but it's a bit noisy unfortunately! They give you headphones to dull the sound a bit and i think there was some music.

    HT has explained it all far better than I could!!

  • Thanks for the help, everyone x

  • lucky...mine wasn't hard to tolerate. Sorry you have to endure this...hoping to hear about it from you dear lupiknits

    This link has helped me a lot to understand my version of this sort of thing:

    Happytulip's reply is a masterclass...she explains this better than most medics have 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    πŸ€πŸ˜˜πŸ€πŸ˜˜ coco

  • Another good link coco ☘️ x

  • Ask the MRI tech to put a cloth over your eyes or bring one with you to use. Im not claustrophobic but when I opened my eyes in the mri of my head I got very anxious. Ive had many mri test since then and covering my eyes continues to help.

    I also have tinnitus it started about 4 years ago after a 2 month flare up and hasn't stopped. The ringing will get really high pitched at times but mostly just a steady low pitch ring. Only time it turns into a whooshing sound is when I get a migraine and it seems to be my blood pressure because its in a rhythm with my heartbeat.

    Im surprised so many of you have this too. My drs ignore this symptom so Ive learned to just live with it. At first I thought I would go mad from it but now I dont really think about until it gets to an extremely loud buzzing.

  • Hi , I have had many MRI scans for hearing problems , unfortunately I did have an acoustic neuroma , they are usually 10 to 15 minutes , I just closed my eyes and tried to think of other things . They give you a buzzer to hold in your hand so that if you do start to panic you can press it and they will get you out straight away . I hope you don't have a bad result , if you don't have any balance problems it's unlikely to be a tumour , good luck x

  • Hello Lupiknits, i have had this tinnitus for years and all i can say is try and ignore it. I also have deafness which is a nuisance, I have had the MRI test and results are normal. They gave me exercises to do with my nose and breathing. Not much help! Not much they can do.

    They will put you headphones on then you can listen to the music. Try and relax it doesn't hurt. Good luck

  • Thanks for the close your eyes and cloth over eyes tips, everyone!

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