Bruit only I can hear?

Does anyone have a bruit that only they can hear? I mean a doctor cannot hear with a stethoscope?

Hello Tiffany I think many times the doctors can not hear it. At first mine was faint to the docs and I had to wait a few months for my 1st angio and it got much louder - When they went in for the angio they said it was complex and grew just in the short time I had to wait.

thankyou for ur input, i didn’t realise avms could grow. Only reason I ask is because I have been getting this Pulsatile tinnitus in my head and right ear for the last couple of months went to the doctor as my mum had a cerebral avm which ruptured twice and he couldn’t hear it but gave me eardrops told me to come back in a week if I still get it, which I am don’t know whether to go back or not if no one else can hear it.


Hi. My bruit is screamingly obvious now but I would say I’ve had it since at least September last year when I would expect only I might hear it. It has definitely grown in volume and my issues (whether AVM or the consequential effects of my AVM) are definitely growing over time.

I’d be surprised if a week made any difference but a month or two might. If you’ve got a doc prepared to listen, and especially if they recognise pulsatile tinnitus as distinct from regular tinnitus, then you’re in good hands. If he recognises and understands avms/ is prepared to believe you have an avm, he may not need the presence of a bruit to spur him on to further action / investigation for you.

Other than my experience of my own issues, I’m basing much of my advice on info at where a common issue I’ve read is that of having pulsatile tinnitus but it not being recognised by a doctor.

Hope this helps. Not intended as diagnostic advice, just shared experience.

Let us know how you get on.


Thank you Richard. I think I will go back as he said that he will send me for a scan if the eardrops don’t work, at least it will put my mums mind at rest as she’s worried sick after what has happened to her, thank you and wish u all well.

I SUFFERED with pulsatile tinnitus for 5 years…it was my first symptom of what was wrong, an AVM. 26 doctors, some of them specialists, many CAT scans, MRIs and an angiogram later, none recognized what was happening. Then the worst happened with a brain bleed. That’s when my luck changed and I saw a top neurosurgeon who recognized immediately what no one else could. I had surgery immediately, inserting 12 coils into my brain artery to redirect blood flow from the AVM. He said I would have been dead within 48 hours. Don’t let any doctor tell you you’re imaging the noises; find a good neurosurgeon however you can and persue it with all you have. It could mean the difference between life and death.

Thank you Jennie, may I ask could anyone else hear your whooshing? Also did you experience it constantly? Thank you


If it helps, mine is constant. I can hear every heartbeat, including when I miss a beat.

It’s quite common for a tinnitus not to be observable by others. This is called subjective tinnitus. Where it can be observed by others, it is called objective tinnitus. In our case, I have an objective pulsatile tinnitus and so far you have a subjective pulsatile tinnitus.

My whooshing is transmitted through my transverse sinus and through my occipital emissary veins, so I can actually feel the arterial pulse on the outside of my skull, outside my right occipital lobe. This could be quite specific to me but I was able to record the pulse sound on my mobile phone by using a voice recorder app and pressing the microphone of my phone onto my skull in the right place. This helped me be comfortable it was objective rather than subjective: I just needed a doctor to hear it. I have to say, I tried to get a recording later to see if it really was getting louder over time but when I tried a month or two ago, I couldn’t get a good second recording, so it may well be very difficult to actually hit the right spot. Equally, mine is definitely present exterior to my skull, as well as interior, so I may be only recording the exterior presence.

Hope this helps.

If you can only hear it at night, I’d say it’s probably difficult / maybe impossible to find. If you can hear it when sitting in a quiet room but with distant noises going on, then it may be more detectable. If you can hear it with people talking in the room, I reckon that’s quite loud and should be detectable but I’ve only my own experience to go by.

Very best wishes,


@Tiffany-j Another thought…

Pulsatile tinnitus can be caused by other things than an AVM. It is basically the sound of blood whooshing past some point in your ear, perhaps where the vessel is narrower. So, wax in the ear, constricting the flow would be possible. Hence your doctor suggesting the drops first. A narrowing of an arterial vessel right by your ear, eg an atherosclerosis, could cause it, or it could be a thrombus, a partial blockage with a blood clot.

One of my diagnoses was “AVM, possible thrombus in right transverse sinus”. It could well be the thrombus I can hear rather than the AVM itself, though they are both ganging up on me to create my full set of symptoms.

I had what I called something moving in my head. It was a bruit, but the doctor could hear it with the stethoscope on my ear. I remember hating it. It went away after the brain surgery to remove the AVM. This was in 1959.


My husband could hear the whooshing if he pressed his eat to mine; it could also be heard with a stethascope. The noise was constant, sometimes louder than others and sometime with a squeaking and honking noise towards the end.

Yeah, mine has a bit of a rasp to it. One of the best clues that it is pulsatile tinnitus, rather than a proper heartbeat.

Mine sounds like the washing machine on pump-out: not a nice, smooth, newly oiled washing machine pump, either!

That is how mine sounds sometimes like a washing machine, I said that to my husband the other night, anyway thank you for all of your replies I was referred to the ent and he has set me up a mra on Monday morning thank you for all the support your all amazing.

Silence is indeed golden. The best part about surgery is the noise has now stopped.


Well, like I said, if you’ve got a doc who’s prepared to believe you might have pulsatile tinnitus and/or a thrombus or AVM and send you for an MRI even if he hasn’t heard it, that’s a great thing. I’ve read about people who’ve spent a long time on the line of finding a doc who’s prepared to go that next step and have a proper look.

Good luck. I hope you get the results back in a decent timescale and you get some clarity.

Equally, I found the MRI fine. Most difficult bit (for me!) was to lie still for the whole time. They gave me some comfy cushions under my legs and it was as comfortable as you could reasonably be but very noisy. I felt almost magnetised when I came out!! (But I’m sure I was just imagining that).

Have a good session and let us know how you get on.

Very best wishes,


Yes that’s very true, I think because I have family history of avm’s and brain haemorrhage is what triggered him to send me for Mra. I’m pretty nervous as I get claustrophobic but I just keep thinking I can’t be a wimp about it after everything my mums been/going through. Thank you

For my MRI, I had a frame that they placed over my head with a periscope in it. That meant that whilst the frame itself you might initially see as a bit claustrophobic, I could see the radiologist in the control room throughout, rather than staring at the inside of a plastic drum. I get a tiny bit claustrophobic: I had a bit of an issue sleeping up against the bulkhead of a narrowboat this summer: but I found the periscope really helpful. Overall, the MRI was fine for me.

They can also sedate you a bit (I think) if it helps. I didn’t ask about sedation for my MRI: I didn’t need it.