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High Blood Pressure

Feeling of `pulse` behind ear

05/15/2006

Question:

I have recently started feeling a "pulse" or throbbing behind my right ear. It happens when I bend over, or exert myself, but will occasionally just happen. There is no pain, and it doesn`t seem to be related to my ear, the feeling is sort of behind and deeper. I usually have a low blood pressure reading, but recently it went up (it`s still well within a normal level, but up from my usual low reading) I am a 47 year old woman, weigh 112, 5`2", and am in good health. I am concerned since this just started happening, and I can`t relate it to anything.

Answer:

The feeling or hearing of a pulse behind the ear is often a benign and transient condition.  However, if the symptom persists or gets worse, an evaluation by an ENT physician is needed.

Possible cause of pulsatile tinnitus (perception of a sound) includes vascular abnormalities and inflammation of the middle ear (serous otitis media).

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati