Pulsatile tinnitus is a condition characterized by a rhythmic thumping or whooshing sound that only the sufferer can hear, often in time with the heartbeat. Carotid artery disease is the most common disease that can lead to pulsatile tinnitus. Other common causes of this condition include conductive hearing loss, high blood pressure, blood vessel disorders and ear muscle disorders, according to Harvard Health Publications.
The condition known as tinnitus is characterized as noise or ringing in the ears that only the sufferer can hear. These phantom noises often arise in the form of high-pitched hisses, lower-pitched buzzing sounds or clicking, according to Harvard Health Publications. Tinnitus is a very common problem, with an estimated 50 million people in the United States struggling with the disorder to varying degrees. Pulsatile tinnitus is likely to disappear on its own. If it doesn't, it is advised to consult a doctor, who can listen to the blood flow through the arteries in the patient's neck. When an obstruction is present in the blood stream, an unusual sound is produced. This sound can serve as a warning sign for a narrowing or malformation in the carotid artery. After diagnosis, this problem can be corrected with surgery.