Hearing Blood Rushing In The Ears

What Causes Sound Of Blood Rushing?

Sound of blood rushing can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose sound of blood rushing, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "sound of blood rushing" as a symptom.  Here are three possibilities:
  • Tinnitus
  • Hypertension
  • Carotid Artery Disease

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
hypertension in parents
African ethnicity
high diastolic blood pressure
prednisone use
high systolic blood pressure
long-term hypertension
high coffee consumption
low aerobic exercise level
blood pressure-lowering drug use
frequent aspirin use
severe tinnitus
current birth control pill use
... and so on

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of sound of blood rushing:
Cause Probability Status
Hypertension 90% Confirm
Carotid Artery Disease 18% Unlikely
Tinnitus 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate ear/hearing problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you ever hear blood rushing through one or both ears?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Sometimes in one ear
→ Sometimes in both ears
→ (Almost) always in one ear
→ (Almost) always in both ears
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either sound of blood rushing in one ear or sound of blood rushing in both ears, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Carotid Artery Disease

The carotid artery passes about 1/8th inch behind the ear drum.  Consequently, one will often hear flow through the artery and this generally doesn't mean anything.  However, an ultrasound will rule out possible narrowing (stenosis) of the artery since this is something that should be followed/fixed depending on the severity.  A "swishing" sound may occur as blood flows past a blockage in a carotid artery.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Some patients may notice a "swishing" noise in either ear with each heartbeat.  This sound may occur as blood flows past a blockage in a carotid artery.

Although it is not unusual for some people to hear their pulse in their ear(s), if onset is recent then it might be wise to see a doctor and make sure it is not due to an elevation in blood pressure.

Tinnitus

People with pulsatile tinnitus typically hear a regular sound that occurs in time with their heartbeat.