Read below about heartbeat sound in the ear, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your heartbeat sound in the ear from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Pulsatile tinnitus

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10 Potential Heartbeat Sound in the Ear Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Concussion Not Needing Imaging

    A traumatic brain injury (TBI), or concussion, happens when a bump, blow, jolt, or other head injury causes damage to the brain. Every year, millions of people in the U.S. suffer brain injuries. More than half are bad enough that people must go to the hospital, and the worst injuries can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

    Most patients with mild brain injury recover within hours to days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, irritability, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with concussion not needing imaging:
    head or face injury
    Symptoms that never occur with concussion not needing imaging:
    recent fall from 6 feet or higher, severe vomiting, posttraumatic amnesia over 30 minutes, slurred speech, fainting, moderate vomiting
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Bell's Palsy

    Bell's palsy (facial palsy) causes sudden weakness in facial muscles and makes half of the face appear to droop. The exact cause is unknown, but it's believed to be the result of swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of your face or may be a reaction that occurs after a viral infection.

    Weeks to 6 months

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    arm weakness, facial numbness, arm weakness, hearing loss, pain on one side of the face
    Symptoms that always occur with bell's palsy:
    face weakness, weakness in one side of the face
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Carotid Artery Dissection

    A carotid artery dissection is the tearing of the walls of the carotid arteries, which deliver blood to the brain from the aorta. This is a medical emergency.

    About 10% have recurrence

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    new headache, history of headaches, steady headache, neck pain on one side, headache near one temple
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  4. 4.Cerebral Venous Thrombosis

    Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a blood clot in an area at the base of the brain that contains a vein, which carries blood from the brain to the heart. This area is called the cavernous sinus.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, being severely ill
    Symptoms that always occur with cerebral venous thrombosis:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  5. 5.Pseudotumor Cerebri

    Many severe symptoms can be caused by pressure building inside the skull.

    6 months

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, new headache, vision changes, double vision, heartbeat sound in the ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  6. 6.Acoustic Neuroma

    An acoustic neuroma is a benign (non-cancerous) growth or tumor that develops on the nerve that carries information about hearing and balance from the ear to the brain. This tumor, although it is not cancerous, can create pressure on the nerve leading to symptoms such as hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and loss of balance.

    Non-cancerous, so growth will completely go away after surgery. If hearing loss, if any, will likely not improve.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    hearing loss, vertigo (extreme dizziness), hearing loss in both ears, heartbeat sound in the ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Chronic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

    Chronic carbon monoxide poisoning is the slow but persistent exposure to carbon dioxide, typically where one lives or works. This can cause chronic headache, nausea, vomiting, etc.

    Resolves by reducing exposure

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, irritability, nausea, difficulty concentrating
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Relapsing Polychondritis

    Relapsing polychondritis is an episodic, inflammatory and destructive disorder involving primarily cartilage of the ear and nose. It can also potentially affect the eyes, tracheobronchial tree, heart valves, kidneys, joints, skin, and blood vessels.

    Episodes of inflammation can last a few days to several weeks that then subside spontaneously or with treatment. Attacks may recur at intervals varying from weeks to months.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, joint pain, congestion, runny nose, wheezing
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

    Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is a common disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes of intense dizziness with head movements. It is believed this is caused by tiny calcium crystals in the inner ear that become dislodged from their usual position within the inner ear.

    Condition will either resolve on its own or is highly treatable with a physical maneuver.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, episodic dizziness, vomiting, vertigo (extreme dizziness), dizziness
    Symptoms that always occur with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo:
    episodic dizziness
    Symptoms that never occur with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo:
    hearing loss, heartbeat sound in the ear, ringing in the ears
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Central Vertigo

    Central vertigo is vertigo due to a disease originating from the brain or spinal cord. Vertigo can cause individuals to experience hallucinations of motion of their surroundings.

    This condition is considered irreversible, but symptoms can be effectively managed with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    vertigo (extreme dizziness), numbness or tingling sensations in skin, difficulty walking, jerky, unsteady, or uncoordinated walk, motor disturbance
    Symptoms that always occur with central vertigo:
    vertigo (extreme dizziness)
    Symptoms that never occur with central vertigo:
    hearing loss, heartbeat sound in the ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Heartbeat Sound in the Ear

  • Q.Have you been experiencing dizziness?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you noticed a change in your hearing?
  • Q.Are you experiencing a headache?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our heartbeat sound in the ear symptom checker to find out more.

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Heartbeat Sound in the Ear Symptom Checker 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:

    • 2% Carotid Artery Dissection
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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