Single-center 10-year experience in treating patients with vascular tinnitus: diagnostic approaches and treatment outcomes.

Research paper by Seong Cheon SC Bae, Dong Kee DK Kim, Sang Won SW Yeo, So Young SY Park, Shi Nae SN Park

Indexed on: 03 Mar '15Published on: 03 Mar '15Published in: Clinical and experimental otorhinolaryngology


Vascular tinnitus is the most common form of pulsatile tinnitus, particularly when the tinnitus corresponds with the pulse of patients. In this study, we reviewed the 10-year clinical data on vascular tinnitus of our tinnitus clinic to investigate the frequency of the underlying etiologies, to introduce a diagnostic protocol, and to evaluate the treatment outcomes.We retrospectively collected the data of 57 patients who were diagnosed as vascular tinnitus between April 2001 and December 2011. Careful history taking, otoscopy, thorough physical examinations, audiometry, laboratory tests, as well as radiologic examinations were performed according to our diagnostic protocol to find the origin of pulsatile tinnitus. Treatment options were individualized based on the specific etiology, and the outcomes were assessed using patient's subjective reports at the follow-up interviews.High jugular bulb was the most common cause (47.4%) of vascular tinnitus, and venous hum was the next (17.5%). Dural arteriovenous fistula, intracranial aneurysm, atherosclerotic carotid artery disease, and hypertension were less common causes. Vascular tinnitus was alleviated in most patients after the appropriate treatment: surgical intervention, tinnitus retraining therapy, reassurance, and medications.Vascular tinnitus can be successfully diagnosed by the regular use of the suggested protocol. Many patients with vascular tinnitus have treatable underlying etiologies. Treatment of those etiologies or at least counseling about the tinnitus itself can benefit the patients with troublesome vascular tinnitus.