Pulsatile tinnitus, in which a person hears the sound of a heartbeat in the ears, usually results from the sounds produced by muscle movements close to the ear, explains WebMD. Problems with blood flow in the neck or face and ear canal changes are also possible causes.
Pulsatile tinnitus is one of the two primary types of tinnitus, which is a ringing noise in the ears that doesn't resolve, states WebMD. The sound doesn't originate in the environment, and the rhythm sometimes keeps pace with the heartbeat or breathing. Tinnitus occurs constantly or intermittently, and it often lasts for a few minutes.
The other main type of tinnitus is nonpulsatile tinnitus, which stems from hearing-related nerve problems, according to WebMD. Many people also experience tinnitus as part of aging. Others develop the condition due to long-term exposure to noise, whether at home or at work. Tinnitus also results from earwax accumulation, medications such as antibiotics, alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks or ear infections.
Individuals older than 40 years old typically experience tinnitus, and the condition is more common in men than women, notes WebMD. While occasional, intermittent tinnitus does not need medical treatment, it is important to contact a health care professional if a person experiences tinnitus in only one ear, tinnitus that occurs all the time, or tinnitus with accompanying symptoms.