Tinnitus, Ringing, Whistling, Whooshing in ears can you hear that?

Tinnitus is very common, but not well understood. In fact according to Mayo Clinic some forms of tinnitus affects about 1 in 5 people. One of those people is me. In most cases it is not a serious condition just an annoying one with little or no treatment options.

A little history
Back in my teens I had my first tinnitus experience after a night of heavy drinking and a scuba dive the next morning, (not recommended btw) .. I now believe my then undiagnosed AVM was irritated from a combination of my increased blood pressure from the alcohol and the water pressure of the dive. It was a sudden onset of symptoms that cut my dive short and lasted 6 months with no diagnosis. My family thought I was going crazy and at times I thought I was. You can read the full story in my very first post here if you have time for my jibber jabba.

Anyway's to cut a long story short, I was not going crazy, my symptoms came back 13 yrs later in 2010 after a new workout routine were I pushed myself too hard which I believe once again irritated my AMV and lead me to my AVM diagnosis.

What is Tinnitus
I have noticed many of us AVM survivors have mentioned they have experienced one of the symptoms below and thought I would share my findings now that I have a better understanding of the once unexplained high pitched screeching sound I have in my head.

Symptoms Common Causes More serious causes
  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Whistling
  • Hissing
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Old age
  • Ear wax buildup
  • Ear bone changes
  • Stress & depression
  • Inner ear injuries
  • AVM's
  • Buildup of cholesterol in arteries
  • kinking of arteries
  • Head tumors
  • High blood pressure
  • Acoustic neuroma's

Hear is a video on Tinnitus with the exact sound I can hear when I'm in a quiet room

I can also hear the blood swooshing and swirling around my blood vessels in my head each night when I'm laying in bed along with that consent whistle screech sound. Some people have it worse and louder than others, some people have a different sound they can hear. I can live with mine it's not so loud and I'm kind of used to it now. Sometimes I don't hear it unless I concentrate to see if it is still there but it always is.

There are a few different types of tinnitus including one called Pulsatile tinnitus. This is a rare type of tinnitus that sounds like a rhythmic pulsing in the ear, often in time with your heartbeat. Doctors can sometimes hear it by pressing a stethoscope against your neck or by placing a tiny microphone inside the ear canal.

Pulsatile tinnitus is most often caused by problems with blood flow in the head or neck such as AVM's. The sound some may hear can be caused by kinking of arteries/vessels, or a buildup of cholesterol in arteries/vessels causing blood flow to become more forceful and sometimes more turbulent, making it easier for your ear to detect the beats. However it has also been known to be caused by brain tumors and other abnormalities in brain structure.

I hope I have answered some of these unexplained noises some of us can hear. If you can hear these strange noises and your a member of this group, your AVM is likely to be the cause. Make sure your tell your doctor so they can review your MRI's and rule out other possible causes.

I have tinnitus too. Mine is a low, constant sound that I usually only notice when my environment is quiet but I can hear it when there are things going on as well (e.i.: I had the radio on (not loud either) and could still hear the 'ringing' in my ears). 'Ringing', 'buzzing', 'humming'... = annoying to figure out when it's really hard to give a precise description of what one is actually hearing.

So glad to hear that I am not the only one! When I was in the hospital and had my MRI, right after I swear everything I heard and still hear are 10 times as worse! I always ask people do you hear that, or this and they just stare at me. Thanks for sharing! : )

Hi Heather, Yes it's pretty common and I would say many people that have a mild case don't notice it or know any different therefore think we are crazy. I remember telling my brother when I was 18ish that I can hear this noise and he too looked at me like I was on something. :) Heather you are newly diagnosed per your profile. I do believe stress and anxiety brings out the worst of tinnitus. For me the tinnitus suddenly raised it's ugly head again after many years of being forgotten and ignored when my avm was diagnosed in July 2010. As some time has gone by now and I'm not in so much shock and denial, the volume has gone down a lot. The volume also seems to come on louder on my bad days and that is usually when I'm tired stressed and have a headache etc. Hopefully your volume will decrease as time goes by too. ;) Please keep us posted.

Hi Ninibeth, Thanks for sharing. I'm happy we have this site to share our stories, findings and opinions. We all have, or have had slightly different symptoms with these AVM's. I'm sure anyone researching symptoms like ours will appreciate hearing similar stories from people like us. We have been there and done that. Sounds like you had a rough time Ninibeth I hope you keep improving every day..

Hi Cindy, Yes it was very hard for me to describe. I have read it to be described like clicking, buzzing, ringing even croaking sounds like a frog. The sound in the video above is exactly what I hear. Many people describe it as a ringing noise including the people in the video but ringing to me is the noise of those old dial phones, remember them, ring ring. I describe mine more as a high pitched continuous whistle or screech. I have found a few videos and audio that describe other noises some hear. You may like to see if any of these audio samples match what you hear. Mine is about 4000 hz at a very low volume.. Take care Cindy, nice to hear from you.


Hi, I have had this "ringing" in my ears ever since I had my AVM surgery. Right now it seems to be getting worse. I am having trouble hearing every day conversations with family members at home. Drs say I have Tennitus after having my hearing tested. Its the cause I'm worried about. I always blamed the AVM due to the location and the 27 metal clips used to cut off some of the tangled mess. (left temple lobe) I haven't persued the information till now because it seems to be getting worse. I hope you are not having the same effects I'm having.

mine sounds like locuses..and ringing at times it gets real lowd..had it for years as long as there is sound that lowd around me(hinze my tv ) i deal good with it,,,it used to drive me vrazy,,but its like my pain,,i so used to it,,,

hearing my heartbeat in my head and the swooshing sounds, reduced to a minimum since the shunt was put into place.