We study the influence of noise in a prototypical thermoacoustic system, which represents a nonlinear self-excited bistable oscillator. We analyze the time series of unsteady pressure obtained from a horizontal Rijke tube and a mathematical model to identify the effect of noise. We report the occurrence of stochastic bifurcations in a thermoacoustic system by tracking the changes in the stationary amplitude distribution. We observe a complete suppression of a bistable zone in the presence of high intensity noise. We find that the complete suppression of the bistable zone corresponds to the nonexistence of phenomenological (P) bifurcations. This is a study in thermoacoustics to identify the parameter regimes pertinent to P bifurcation using the stationary amplitude distribution obtained by solving the Fokker-Planck equation. © 2016 American Physical Society.