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Expert Care for Pulsatile Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling or clicking sound in the ears in the absence of external noise. It interferes with quality of life and can often be debilitating.

Pulsatile tinnitus (pulse synchronous) is experienced by a subset of patients with tinnitus. It is a rhythmic noise in the ears, frequently synced with the heartbeat and often related to the vascular system. Several vascular conditions, ranging from benign to dangerous, can cause this symptom.

  • Many benign vascular causes of pulsatile tinnitus are treatable with minimally invasive methods.
  • Dangerous vascular conditions (mainly composed of abnormal “short circuit” connections of arteries and veins close to the base of skull) must be treated, in order to prevent brain injury due to hemorrhage or stroke.

Since the cause of pulsatile tinnitus varies in nature and severity, and because it can occasionally be related to potentially harmful causes, this condition should be evaluated comprehensively and in a timely fashion.

The multidisciplinary care team at the Northwestern Medicine Pulsatile Tinnitus Clinic includes specialists in:

  • Diagnostic and interventional neuroradiology (neurointerventional surgery)
  • Neurology
  • Neuro-otology
  • Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat)
  • When necessary, patients can be seamlessly referred to additional specialists in:
    • Vascular neurosurgery
    • Radiation oncology

Appointments and Referrals

To speak directly to a member of the Pulsatile Tinnitus Clinic team, please call 312.926.3185, TTY 711.

Meet the Team

The Northwestern Medicine Pulsatile Tinnitus Clinic integrates experts in the fields of neurointerventional surgery (interventional neuroradiology), otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), neurology and neuroradiology. Working together, these specialists offer the most advanced treatments available.
Meet the Team
Downtown Chicago

Why Choose Northwestern Medicine

Very few clinics in the U.S. offer a multidisciplinary team of specialists dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of pulsatile tinnitus. At Northwestern Medicine, you will receive expert care at an academic medical center where treatment decisions are informed by the latest research.

Pulsatile Tinnitus FAQ

Frequently asked questions about pulsatile tinnitus, including causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.