Expert Care for Pulsatile Tinnitus

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

Some patients with tinnitus have pulsatile tinnitus (pulse synchronous). It is a rhythmic pulsing noise in one or both ears. It tends to be synchronized with your heartbeat. It is often related to the vascular system. Several vascular conditions, ranging from benign (harmless) to dangerous, can cause this symptom.

  • Many benign causes of pulsatile tinnitus can be treated with minimally invasive methods.
  • Dangerous vascular conditions (such as abnormal “short circuit” connections of arteries and veins close to the base of skull) must be treated to reduce the risk of brain injury due to hemorrhage or stroke.

There are many possible causes of pulsatile tinnitus. They vary in nature and severity. If you have symptoms, do not delay medical care. See your healthcare provider so they can evaluate you.

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)
  • If needed, you can also see specialists in:
    • Vascular neurosurgery
    • Radiation oncology

Learn more about pulsatile tinnitus causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment here.

Appointments and Referrals

For questions and appointments, please call 312.926.3185, TTY 711.

Meet the Team

The Northwestern Medicine Pulsatile Tinnitus Clinic is made up of experts in many fields. These include neurointerventional surgery (interventional neuroradiology), otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), neurology and neuroradiology. These specialists work together to offer the most advanced treatments.

Meet the Northwestern Medicine Pulsatile Tinnitus Clinic Team

Team of Northwestern Medicine surgeons working in the OR

Why Choose Northwestern Medicine

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

Locations & Contact Information

    Pulsatile Tinnitus FAQ

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

    Woman, 39, driven crazy when mystery whooshing noise suddenly starts in her ear

    The Northwestern Medicine Pulsatile Tinnitus Clinic is one of a few clinics in the U.S. dedicated to evaluating and treating patients with pulsatile tinnitus.