What Causes Tinnitus

Common causes of tinnitus

  • Hearing loss. For many people, hearing worsens with age. Tinnitus can be a symptom of hearing loss.
  • Exposure to loud noise. Loud noises, such as those from heavy equipment, chain saws and firearms, are common sources of noise-related hearing loss. Portable music devices, such as MP3 players or iPods, also can cause noise-related hearing loss if played loudly for long periods. Tinnitus caused by short-term exposure, such as attending a loud concert, usually goes away; long-term exposure to loud sound can cause permanent damage.
  • Earwax blockage. Earwax protects your ear canal by trapping dirt and slowing the growth of bacteria. When too much earwax accumulates, it becomes too hard to wash away natural, causing hearing loss or irritation of the eardrum, which can lead to tinnitus.
  • Ear bone changes. Stiffening of the bones in your middle ear (otosclerosis) may affect your hearing and cause tinnitus. This condition, caused by abnormal bone growth, runs in families

 

Other health conditions may also cause tinnitus. Examples include: :

  • Treating a blood vessel condition. Underlying vascular conditions may require medication, surgery or another treatment to address the problem.
  • Changing your medication. If a medication you’re taking appears to be the cause of tinnitus, your doctor may recommend stopping or reducing the drug, or switching to a different medication.
  • Avoid possible irritants. Reduce your exposure to things that may make your tinnitus worse. Common examples include loud noises and nicotine.
  • Manage stress. Stress can make tinnitus worse. Stress management, whether through relaxation therapy, biofeedback or exercise, may provide some relief.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol increases the force of your blood by dilating your blood vessels, causing greater blood flow, especially in the inner ear area.

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