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Will disturbed JUGULAR VEIN flow cause Hearing heartbeat?

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In 2005 I had a combination right tear duct surgery (DCR) and multi-procedure sinus surgery. After that surgery and intermittently each day since then, I have heard a heart beat in my right ear. I am now used to it. One of the times I am most aware of the one-sided pulsation is when I am lying in bed very relaxed.  There is no pain or other physiological distress. 

In 2013 I saw a couple of audiologists for hearing aide evaluation. One of the routine questions was to the effect, “Do you ever hear a heartbeat in your ear?” The audiologist urged follow-up evaluation ASAP. When I went for the follow-up appointment , the ENT said “I don`t know how aggressive we should get”. Upon my insistence, he ordered the tests to rule out glomus tumor, dural AVM and carotid stenosis.

After the tests, the doctor mainly reported that the tests (including MRI) were negative. Later, when I asked for a copy of the progress note, I read “Idiopathic right pulsatile tinnitus most consistent with disturbed blood flow in the jugular vein.”

My question for you: Though the added pulsation is not a problem to me in my quality of life, is “disturbed blood flow in the jugular vein” a reason to be concerned about stroke risk, monitoring viscosity of blood, etc.? I am a 71-year-old lady and my general health is very good.

Category: Cardiologist

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Category: Cardiologist
 19 Doctors Online

Thank you for your query at

There is no proven correlation between perceived sensation of ear pulsation or disturbed jugular flow with stroke. In fact the term disturbed flow itself is dubious. You could undergo a test like 2d echo to rule out conditions like aortic regurgitation which may make one aware of prominent self pulsations.
Otherwise there is no evidence to suggest that this particular condition of yours could lead to an extra risk of stroke.
Dr Vivek Mahajan
DM Cardiology
MD Medicine

Patient replied :

Dr. Mahajan, I much appreciate your answer about stroke risk in reference to the condition I described. From what you said, I assume that pulsatile tinnitus COULD be one of the symptoms of a malfunctioning heart valve. But it would be highly unlikely (miniscule) that PT would be a sole symptom for a decade. Right? I assume that something took place during the 2005 surgery that caused the pulsatile tinnitus and what happened didn`t cause any damage otherwise. All of that is possible? Thank you kindly for sharing your expertise.

Of course, pulsatile tinnitus can be a result of this surgery.
It is a remote possibility that the tinnitus could be due to heart valve disease. Rarely it can go on for 10 years. But serious conditions need to be ruled out.

Dr Vivek Mahajan

Dr. Vivek Mahajan
Category: Cardiologist
Fellowship: DM, Cardiology, PGIMER, 2013
Residency: MD, Internal Medicine, AIIMS, 2007
Internship: King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, 2003 
Medical School: MBBS, Seth G.S. Medical College, 2002
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