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Heartbeat Sound in The Ear Symptom, Causes & Questions

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Last updated October 6, 2020

Heartbeat sound questionnaire

Use our free symptom checker to find out what's causing your heartbeat sound.

Hearing a thumping in your ears, also known as pulsatile tinnitus, can be caused from Meniere's disease, which can affect your balance and hearing. Other causes of pulsing in the ear include earwax buildup or temporomandibular joint dysfunction disorder. Read below for more information on causes and treatment options.

Heartbeat sound questionnaire

Use our free symptom checker to find out what's causing your heartbeat sound.

Heartbeat sound symptom checker

6 heartbeat sound in the ear causes

This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Meniere's disease

Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear that affects balance and hearing.

Meniere's disease is due to an abnormality in the inner ear that results in low levels of fluid, thus interfering with the sense of balance. The abnormality may be hereditary or it could be from allergies, autoimmune disease, or other illness.

Symptoms usually affect only one ear and include severe attacks of vertigo, or the sensation of spinning; tinnitus, or ringing in the ear; pressure inside the ear; and increasing deafness. These symptoms are unpredictable and can come and go without warning.

Meniere's disease is progressive and will not go away on its own. It can lead to a severe loss of hearing and balance, and so a medical provider should be seen at the earliest symptoms.

Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; hearing tests; and balance tests.

There is no cure for Meniere's disease, but it can be treated with motion sickness and anti-nausea medicines, hearing aids, and occasionally surgery.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: nausea, ringing in the ears, vertigo (extreme dizziness), ear fullness/pressure, brief fainting episode

Symptoms that always occur with meniere's disease: dizziness: at least 2 episodes

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Heartbeat sound questionnaire

Use our free symptom checker to find out what's causing your heartbeat sound.

Heartbeat sound symptom checker

Earwax blockage

Ear wax production is a normal process, as the body makes wax to protect the ear from infection. Sometimes ear wax can build up and cover the eardrum, which is a thin layer of skin that stretches across the end of the ear canal and picks up sound from outside. Ear wax buildup has nothing to do with poor hygiene, and it is not possible to prevent a build-up by washing.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: dizziness, dry cough, ear canal pain, ear fullness/pressure, ringing in the ears

Symptoms that never occur with earwax blockage: swollen ear, fever

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Temporomandibular joint (tmj) dysfunction disorder

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is often caused by a variety of factors, including daily habits, your teeth alignment, and even stress. It usually affects one side of the jaw, but in some people it can affect both sides. People with TMJ dysfunction will typically experience pain on one side of the face that is worse with chewing, yawning, or other movements of the jaw. With some simple changes in your daily habits and other at-home treatments, most people with TMJ dysfunction will experience relief of their symptoms within weeks.

Treatment for temporomandibular joint dysfunction usually includes avoiding eating hard foods or foods that require a lot of chewing. Good posture and relaxation techniques may help relieve tension in the muscles that connect to your temporomandibular joint. In people who clench or grind their teeth, a mouth guard worn at night (and fitted by your dentist) may also help relieve your symptoms. Pain relievers, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), can also help.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: dizziness, pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw, history of headaches, jaw pain, pain in the back of the neck

Symptoms that always occur with temporomandibular joint (tmj) dysfunction disorder: pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Cholesteatoma (a non-cancerous growth in the ear)

Cholesteatoma is a type of skin cyst that is located in the middle ear and mastoid bone in the skull. It can be a birth defect though more commonly occurs as a complication of chronic ear infection.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: ear fullness/pressure, ringing in the ears, pain in one ear canal, vertigo (extreme dizziness), hearing loss in one ear

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Hypertensive crisis

Hypertensive crisis occurs when your blood pressure becomes dangerously high (180/120 mm Hg), to a level that can damage your organs. Hypertensive crisis is categorized as "hypertensive urgency" if the blood pressure is high without damage to organs, and as "hypertensive emergen...

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough iron to form hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

The condition can be caused by acute blood loss through injury, surgery, or childbirth; chronic b...

Heartbeat sound questionnaire

Use our free symptom checker to find out what's causing your heartbeat sound.

Heartbeat sound symptom checker

Questions your doctor may ask about heartbeat sound in the ear

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Have you been experiencing dizziness?
  • Have you noticed a change in your hearing?
  • Did you get hit in the head?
  • Are you experiencing a headache?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

Heartbeat sound in the ear statistics

People who have experienced heartbeat sound in the ear have also experienced:

  • 7% Headache
  • 4% Fatigue
  • 3% Dizziness

People who have experienced heartbeat sound in the ear were most often matched with:

  • 37% Meniere'S Disease
  • 37% Temporomandibular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder
  • 25% Earwax Blockage

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Hear what 3 others are saying
Heartbeat in earPosted June 16, 2021 by N.
One ear has a heartbeat in it. I think I have wax buildup. It was OK, but then I used oil and the heartbeat got worse. I hope it is wax buildup or else I will go crazy.
Excruciating pain and noisePosted March 15, 2021 by A.
Once in a while, I get this itchy sensation in my ears that is annoying. It is never in both at the same time and neither does it happen often. I am mentioning this just in case. Yesterday I started feeling that I had air in my left ear. I decompressed various times. Right ear would go back to normal but left ear didn't. Throughout the day it got worst. Then it started hurting and with this ringing. Then my face, side of the head, my temple, oooh the throbbing pain in my temple got worst as well as every single symptom. At 4 am I was crying and screaming all over the house. I tried chewing gum, opening my mouth and bringing my head back, yawning, I tried every single technique there is online, slept with a heating pack all over that area, and nothing. It is getting worst. Also tried painkillers. I can feel my heartbeat rhythmically with the throbbing pain. I want this noise, like electricity through a bunch of cables, I want this to go away.
1,000/9,000Posted April 21, 2020 by S.
Female, age 13. I started hearing my pulse in my ears for a few days. I thought of it as nothing and kept going with my day. Over the entire day, it kept getting louder and louder. Then at dinner, I couldn't take it anymore. I told my mom about it and was rushed to the ER. She didn't tell me why. I received an MRI and was told that I had severe migraines and that they would never be cured. I eventually was sent to a specialist in New York. They helped cure my migraines for good. Apparently, I had a rare case of migraine that was both a gift and a curse. They see about 9,000 patients, and 1,000 of those patients have what I had. It's very curable and a one-time cure. It takes away all dizziness. I can now spin in complete one hundred circles and not be dizzy, just bored! I hope that you all can find the same relief that I did.

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