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What Causes Throbbing in the Ear?

What Causes Throbbing in the Ear?

The probable causes for throbbing in the ear are pulsatile tinnitus, ear infections, vascular problems, and presence of fluid behind the eardrum. Keeping the ear clean and minimizing allergies are effective preventive measures. Here's more...
Ningthoujam Sandhyarani
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Throbbing in ear and head is an annoying medical problem that affects many people. This ear condition may be present in the left or right side, or sometimes, both sides. While some patients experience disturbing noise lasting for a few minutes, others suffer from constant throbbing ear pain for a prolonged period of time. The constant pulsations lead to the person becoming extremely irritated, distracted, and it also has an effect on the sleep patterns of that individual. In case this condition is accompanied with sharp pain, do not delay in getting medical attention, as this can be a sign of some underlying health condition.
Causes of Throbbing in the Ear
In most cases with a mild presentation, the condition is initially ignored, due to the incorrect assumption that it will subside on its own. However, when the condition progresses, the affected individuals perceive a bothersome pulse-like sound, which is absent in the external environment, that is audible only to them. This constant sound leads to a disruption in the daily activities, and causes the person to become frazzled. They even have difficulties sleeping at night, since the sound is intensified during the nighttime quietness. The causes for this affliction may range from trivial to severe. Hence, one must get it looked at by an ENT specialist at the earliest. The most common causes that give rise to this predicament are as follows.
Pulsatile Tinnitus: Patients with this ear problem, hears a throbbing sound in the ear, which is in tune with their own heartbeat. The audible sound is caused due to increased flow of fluids in the blood vessels (arteries and veins) that are adjacent to the inner ear. This is commonly seen to occur during pregnancy.
Ear Infections: Due to allergic reactions or infections in the middle and inner ear, the Eustachian tube (a connecting link between the nose and middle ear) gets blocked, resulting in severe earache, headache, fever, restlessness, throbbing, and general discomfort.
Vascular Problems: Diseases associated with the blood vessels and circulatory system, like anemia, aneurysms, and high blood pressure could be a cause of ear pressure and throbbing noise in ear. Another probable reason is vascular tumor, which is located in conjunction to the inner ear. The throbbing could also be an indicator of an arterial tear in the head and neck region.
Other Causes: Presence of impacted earwax or simply, excess buildup of wax can also lead to throbbing sensation in the ear. Another causal factor is fluid accumulation behind the eardrum, especially, due to allergies. This cause ear pain along with disturbance in the normal perception of sound waves. It may also be due to abnormal bone growth in the ear canal as a consequence of osteosclerosis. Disorders like Meniere's disease also present tinnitus along with vertigo and hearing loss. Abnormalities of the temporomandibular joint can also give rise to this condition.
Treatment Options
Treatment for throbbing ear pain is best done under the supervision of a doctor. Prior to starting any form of medication treatment for throbbing in ear, it is crucial for every patient to undergo diagnostic tests for correct identification. Once in the hospital, the otologist may perform physical examination and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for diagnosis of throbbing ear. Based on the causal factor, the therapeutic intervention for throbbing ear pain includes using ear drops, administering treatment medications, or minor surgery. The best way to prevent the occurrence of this condition is by regular earwax removal and non-exposure to allergens. In addition to therapeutic treatment approaches, there are certain home remedies one can follow. They are cost-effective and pose no major adverse effects.
Natural remedies, like ginkgo biloba (improves blood circulation), silica, burdock root, and goldenseal herb have been used to relieve the pain. Since vitamin C boosts the immune system and helps fight off infections, including vitamin C-rich foods will prove beneficial. In case the pain is due to earwax buildup, one could use ear drops, or oils like olive oil to help soften the wax, for ease in removal. The pain could also be subsided by applying a hot compress over the area.
However, do keep your doctor informed of all the home remedies you may try, so that the doctor may alert you to any incorrect practices. Also if the condition persists for a long time, yet the doctor is unable to diagnose and treat the cause, you should get a second or even a third opinion from other doctors, till a suitable solution is found.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.