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Pulsatile Tinnitus in Pregnancy

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Pulsatile tinnitus in pregnancy explained by Dr Raymond Ngo, National University Hospital, Singapore

Pulsatile Tinnitus

I am in my last trimester of my pregnancy, 10 more days before my estimated due date for delivery.

I have been experiencing funny "Whoosh whoosh" sounds in my ear for the past 3 days. It sometimes sounds like a heartbeat that gets louder. I was actually awoken by it last night. It only happens in my left ear. I haven't experienced this before.

It goes away when I tilt my head to the left side. I wonder if there is anything associated with my pregnancy. Kindly advise.

The sounds that you are describing appear to be 'pulsatile tinnitus.' Tinnitus refers to a phantom auditory perception and is described as pulsatile if it coincides with the heartbeat.

The inner ear is surrounded by several major blood vessels to and from the brain. It is possible that you are hearing those sounds because pregnancy causes a hyperdynamic state in your blood circulation. I would advise you to seek medical attention if the sounds persist after your delivery.

Answered by

Dr Raymond Ngo

Consultant, Department of Otolaryngology

Head & Neck Surgery, National University Hospital (NUH)

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