Concepts in Hearing

Top 4 Causes of Tinnitus

Man with Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a health condition that causes an individual to experience phantom sounds; hearing noise that has no external source. While tinnitus is often described as ringing in the ears, the exact sounds that people hear tend to vary: some hear buzzing, others hear whistling and sounds such as beeping, chirping and clicking are also relatively common.

If a person begins to experience tinnitus, they will quickly begin to wonder why the condition has developed. While tinnitus can occur with no known cause, in many cases, tinnitus is more of a symptom than a standalone condition – with the four causes below the most commonly noted.

1. Hearing loss

Many people who have been diagnosed with hearing loss will also experience tinnitus; while the conditions can occur independently of one another, they are very heavily linked. As a result, if you develop tinnitus, arranging a hearing test with an audiologist can be incredibly beneficial. If you are diagnosed with both hearing loss and tinnitus, then the conditions can actually be treated with the same remedy: hearing aids that are equipped with tinnitus masking functionality.

2. Earwax buildup

Most people associate earwax buildup with hearing loss; for example, sounds become muffled and it is more difficult to hear clearly in busy environments. However, in some cases, earwax buildup can cause tinnitus to develop. If you suspect you may be experiencing a buildup of earwax, it is incredibly important to seek professional advice; at-home earwax remedies can be dangerous and ineffective, so visit a doctor or audiologist in order to discuss the best ways to remedy the issue.

3. Exposure to loud noise

We all know that loud noise exposure can cause issues with hearing loss, but loud noise can also cause problems with tinnitus – especially if the exposure occurs over a prolonged period of time. If you work in a noisy environment or regularly attend loud concerts or gigs, then you will need to explore ear protection options in order to resolve any tinnitus issues you are experiencing. If you use ear protection and still experience tinnitus, you may also need to use tinnitus masking devices; you can learn more about these devices from your audiologist.

4. Changes in blood flow

Health conditions such as anemia and hypertension (commonly known as high blood pressure) can cause blood flow changes that cause tinnitus or exacerbate an existing occurrence of the condition. As a result, people with tinnitus should always consult both an audiologist and a general health physician in order to obtain a well-rounded picture of their health. If blood flow disorders are found, then treating these conditions could alleviate tinnitus altogether, though further treatment – via masking devices – may be required in more severe cases.

If you begin to experience tinnitus, then it is well worth visiting an audiologist for further insight into treatment options. If the cause of your tinnitus is established, then treating the primary condition could mean that the tinnitus resolves of its own accord.