Causes of Tinnitus

There are lots of causes of tinnitus. In this blog, we will briefly go over the main causes of tinnitus. For more information about tinnitus or to determine if you are affected by tinnitus please contact us today!

External Ear-Excessive Ear wax can create the ringing.  This would then be a temporary problem and would subside with the ear canal is open and clear.

Middle Ear-Pulsatile Tinnitus sounds like a heartbeat and synchronized with the person’s heartbeat.  This is somehow connected to the vascular system.  Many can apply pressure to the neck, just below the jaw with their hand and it will diminish.  Treatments for this condition can be surgery to repair the blockage or defect in the blood vessels to the ear.  Tumors can be a reason for this type of tinnitus and must be eliminated as a cause.

Infections-Patients from middle ear infections often indicate experiencing tinnitus.  The excessive buildup of fluid and blockage of Eustachian tube blockage might result in a temporary loss of hearing and more pressure on the tiny bones, leading to the temporary ringing.

Otosclerosis-This occurs when the last of three tiny bones in the middle ears becomes fixated, thus giving a conductive hearing loss.  The tinnitus associated may be due to an increase in perception of normal internal sounds or increase pressure on the inner ear.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss-Most of these types of hearing loss may be associated with tinnitus.  Damage to the inner ear may be sudden or progressive and the time course of the hearing loss may also reflect the appearance of the tinnitus and its severity.  Permanent hearing loss is caused by many factors and can present with continuous tinnitus.

Medications-The excessive doses of certain types of medications such as aspirin for instance can cause tinnitus initially and then lead to hearing loss.  The medications causes damage to the inner ear hair cells, thus this is another type of inner ear tinnitus.  At a certain point in time the hearing loss and tinnitus may be reversible.  Medications that can cause hearing loss/and or tinnitus are referred to as ototoxic.  If used in excess or and over a long period of time, permanent damage can occur.   The excessive use of aspirin might initially cause tinnitus, but if aspirin is stopped the ringing will stop.  If this habit is repeated over and over, eventually the cumulative exposure will cause permanent hearing loss.  If a medication is started and the initiation of tinnitus occurs, this is a warning sign that the type and dosage may place your hearing at risk.  If this happens, consult your physician to find alternative meidations or dosages that do not cause these symptoms.  A daily intake of “baby” aspirin of 81 mg usually doesn’t result in tinnitus or overall hearing loss risk.

Meniere’s Disease-Episodic vertigo, flucuating hearing loss, ear fullness/pressure are most common symptoms. A low pitched tinnitus that is tonal or more noise-like can occur.  Most patients complain of a constant, continuous tinnitus, but can be exacerbated when an impending dizzy spell occurs.  The tinnitus will then reduce after the spell.  Treating the Meniere’s disease may provide relief from the tinnitus, as well at treating the hearing loss.  A recommendation of a very low sodium diet (<2 gm per day) is often included.

Tumors-Sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus may also be caused by so-called brainstem or cerebellopontine angle tumors.  They are normally benign in nature and originate from on of the nerve branches.  They can compress on the hearing nerve and or cut off the blood supply, causing hearing loss and tinnitus.  The onset of unilateral hearing loss and or tinnitus merits special attention by a physician to rule out a tumor.

Hypertension-One common condition associated with complaints of ear or head noises is high blood pressure.  A pressure sensation in their head or “whooshing” sound is typical.  Typically, when the blood pressure is treated, the sound subsides.

Thyroid Problems-Thyroid issues may also be accompanied by ear pressure and tinnitus.  The abnormal increase or deficiency in thyroid gland hormone causing the tinnitus.  This is usually a low pitch sound and when the thyroid is stabilized the tinnitus subsides.for the app or set up a counseling session with Sound Hearing Care and we can walk you through the process.

Sound Hearing Care is a proud Tinnitus Care Provider and premier member of the American Tinnitus Association, which leads in training and research for those treating and struggling with tinnitus.  There are many great articles for managing tinnitus on their website.

To learn about the great options for better control over your tinnitus, contact us today!