Ringing in the ears caused by high blood pressure is actually the ear picking up the sounds of blood pumping through nearby blood vessels, according to WebMD. People who notice ringing in the ears caused by hearing their own heartbeat have pulsatile tinnitus.
Tinnitus caused by high blood pressure is rare, notes Newsmax Health. The medications used to treat high blood pressure can also cause tinnitus. Factors that raise blood pressure, such as alcohol, stress and caffeine, also make tinnitus more apparent.
Other causes of pulsatile tinnitus are tumors in the head or neck that place pressure on blood vessels near the ear, according to Mayo Clinic. Pulsatile tinnitus that occurs only in one ear is often the result of malformation of capillaries in that ear. Atherosclerosis, which occurs when blood vessels lose some of their elasticity, and turbulent blood flow, caused by narrowing or bent veins and arteries, can also cause pulsatile tinnitus.
Pulsatile tinnitus sufferers should seek a consultation with an ear, nose and throat specialist, suggests Newsmax Health. Because tinnitus caused by high blood pressure is rare, the specialist may search for other problems that cause ringing in the ears. He can also order an audiogram that includes bone and air conduction studies, as well as a speech reception threshold test, to obtain a clearer understanding of the cause of the tinnitus.