What Causes Tinnitus?
There’s a ringing in your ears and you can’t figure out where it’s coming from. You realize that it’s coming from inside your head. What causes it? What can I do about it?
Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears that doesn’t come from an outside source. The most common causes of tinnitus are damage to the inner ear from loud noise, a buildup of inner ear wax or old age. But there are lesser-known causes of tinnitus that aren’t usually considered. Here are a few:
- Head or Neck Injuries: Hurting your neck or head can cause damage to the inner ear. It can also cause damage to parts of the brain where sound is processed. Either of these types of injuries can lead to tinnitus.
- Meniere’s Disease: This disorder, caused by abnormal fluid pressure in the ear, can lead to tinnitus.
- Acoustic Neuroma: This is a non-cancerous tumor that develops on the nerve between your brain and your inner ear, leading to tinnitus in that ear only.
- TMJ Disorders: The temperomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint just in front of your ears, where you jawbone meets your skull. Problems with your TMJ can lead to tinnitus in one or both ears.
- Blood Vessel Disorders: Tinnitus that is caused by a blood vessel disorder is called “Pulsatile Tinnitus”. It is uncommon, but can occur as a result of one of these conditions:
- High Cholesterol: High levels of blood cholesterol mean that it’s hard for blood to flow through vessels, including those in your inner ear. This can lead to tinnitus.
- High Blood Pressure: As blood moves faster in your vessels, it can make your tinnitus seem louder.
- Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM): This condition is an abnormality in the connections between veins and arteries, and it can sometimes lead to tinnitus.
Treatments For Tinnitus
Tinnitus can dramatically affect your quality of life, but there is help available. Sound therapy, hearing aids and counseling are popular methods that can diminish the effects of tinnitus. If you are experiencing unexplained ringing or buzzing in your ears, make an appointment with an experienced audiologist to determine what’s causing your tinnitus, and discuss which treatment options are best for you.