Tinnitus is the experience of ringing or others noises in one or both of your ears. Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system. For most, Tinnitus improves with treatment of those underlying causes or with treatments that reduce or mask the noise but can never be fully removed

Symptoms of Tinnitus 

Tinnitus if most often described as a ringing in the ears, regardless of external noise. However, Tinnitus can also cause other types of phantom noises in your ears: 

  • Buzzing 
  • Roaring 
  • Clicking 
  • Hissing 
  • Humming

The noises of Tinnitus may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal and can range in volume, often causing disruption in concentration. 

What are some Common Causes of Tinnitus?

There are an abundance of common causes of Tinnitus, most health related and others caused by injuries or conditions. Learn more about the Common Causes of Tinnitus below: 

Health Related Tinnitus Causes

Ear Infection or Ear Canal Blockage - Your ear canals can become blocked with a buildup of fluid, earwax, dirt or other foreign materials

Medications - A number of medications may cause or worsen tinnitus. Generally, the higher the dose of medication, the worse the tinnitus. 

Chronic Health problems - health issues like diabetes, thyroid problems, migraines, anemia and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have all been linked to tinnitus. 

Ear Bone Changes - Stiffening of the bones in your middle ear (otosclerosis) may affect your hearing and cause tinnitus. 

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders - Problems with the TMJ, the joint on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull, can cause tinnitus. 

Injury/Condition Related Tinnitus Causes

Head or Neck Injuries - Head or neck trauma can affect the inner ear, hearing nerves or brain function linked to hearing. 

Muscle Spasms in Inner Ear - Muscles in the inner ear can tense up (spasm) which can result in tinnitus, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ear. 

Blood vessel disorders - atherosclerosis, high blood pressure or kinked malformed blood vessels can cause blood to move through your veins and arteries with more force. These changes can cause tinnitus or make it more noticeable. 

Acoustic neuroma - A noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops on the cranial nerve that runs from your brain to your inner ear and controls balance and hearing. 

Preventing Tinnitus Problems 

In most cases, Tinnitus is the result of issues that cannot be prevented, whether that is age, condition or injury related. However, some precautionary measures can be taken to reduce your risk of having/getting Tinnitus. 

  • Use Hearing Protection - Over time, exposure to loud sounds can damage the nerves in the ears, causing hearing loss and Tinnitus. Try to limit your exposure to loud sounds or use ear protection if exposure to noises is necessary (for work, job, etc.) 
  • Turn Down the Volume - Long-term exposure to amplified music with no ear protection or listening to music at high volumes though headphones can cause major hearing loss and tinnitus over time. 
  • Cardiovascular Health - Regular exercise, eating right and taking other steps to keep your blood vessels healthy can prevent tinnitus linked to obesity and blood vessels disorders. 
  • Limit Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine - These substances can affect blood flow and contribute to tinnitus (especially when used in excess amounts) 

What Can You Do?

Tinnitus can be a serious health issue and roadblock in your daily life if not looked at and remediated early on! Get in touch with the professional licensed Hearing Instrument Specialists at Genstler Hearing Center today to learn more about our Tinnitus and how we may assist with your hearing problems.