Hearing Your Heartbeat: What It Means

Pulsatile Tinnitus

When you can hear a heartbeat-like sound in your ears, the medical term is pulsatile tinnitus. A few different issues can cause this condition and could be accompanied by other issues such as balance problems or headaches. In this article, we will discuss the causes and treatments for pulsatile tinnitus.

Studies done on patients reporting pulsatile tinnitus showed the vast majority of cases were from only three conditions, TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Dysfunction Disorder, Meniere’s Disease, and earwax blockage. These three issues account for over eighty percent of pulsatile tinnitus cases.

Pulsatile Tinnitus: Why Am I Hearing a Heartbeat?

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Dysfunction Disorder

Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction disorder impacts the jaw’s range of motion and causes pain and discomfort. The joint where the upper and lower jawbones meet, known as the Temporomandibular Joint, is a complex joint that undergoes intricate movements and can easily be strained or injured.

Additional Symptoms:

Dizziness, limited jaw movement, and clicking sounds when moving the jaw, chronic headaches, pain in the jaw and teeth, tightness, and pain at the back of the neck.

TMJ disorder can be challenging to diagnose, so initial treatment involves conservative methods that don’t result in permanent changes to the jaw. To alleviate discomfort, using ice packs, consuming soft foods, gently stretching the jaw muscles, and reducing stress levels are recommended. Additionally, short-term pain medication may be used.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease affects the inner ear and causes a reduction in fluid levels, which can affect a person’s balance.

Additional Symptoms:

Vertigo (intense dizziness), ear pressure, nausea, ringing in the ears, transient fainting episodes.

Typically, this condition only affects one ear, and its symptoms can be erratic, showing up and disappearing without forewarning. While Meniere’s disease cannot be cured, it can be managed with medication for motion sickness and nausea, using hearing aids, and in some cases, surgery.

Earwax Blockage

Our bodies produce ear wax as a natural defense against infections. However, there are instances when it accumulates and blocks the eardrum. It’s important to note that ear wax buildup is not a result of poor hygiene and can’t be prevented before it happens.

Additional Symptoms:

Ear pressure and pain, persistent dry cough, vertigo, and ringing in the ears.

Having your ears cleaned by a professional is crucial. You can find a variety of ear drops and natural oils at most pharmacies. Avoid using cotton swabs to clean inside your ears; they can worsen impaction and damage the eardrum.

Other Potential Causes:

Inner Ear Infection (Labyrinthitis):

An inner ear infection affects the soft bony structures within the inner ear following an illness such as the common cold, the flu, measles, or mumps.


A type of abnormal non-cancerous growth located behind the eardrum

Iron Deficiency Anemia:

When there is a shortage of iron in the body, it cannot produce enough hemoglobin, the protein that transports oxygen in red blood cells.

Pseudotumor Cerebr:

Also known as ‘idiopathic intracranial hypertension,’ it occurs when there is increased pressure inside the skull.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome:

Also called chronic myofascial pain (CMP.) is repetitive muscle injury through overuse, causing scar tissue, or adhesions, to form in the muscles.

Hypertensive Crisis:

Malignant hypertension is another term for a sudden and dangerous increase in blood pressure to extremely high levels.

Carotid Artery Dissection:

The tearing of the carotid arteries is a medical emergency as these arteries supply blood to the brain from the aorta.

Ultimately, it’s essential to understand that you should not be able to hear your own heartbeat in your ears. Even if you are not experiencing other symptoms, make sure to make an appointment with a doctor or urgent care professional immediately to prevent more severe issues.

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Phone Number (required)

    Reason for Visit (required)

    Your Message