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Causes of Tinnitus, Treatments and Solutions

Updated on September 2, 2013

Do you constantly hear annoying ringing sounds in your ears? They are not imaginary. You may have tinnitus, a hearing condition characterized by ringing in the ears without the presence of external noise.

In most cases, tinnitus is simply a nuisance and does not pose a serious threat to health. However, in rare cases, it can be an indication of a serious health problem.


How Do You Get it?

Tinnitus can occur in the any of major areas of the ears: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. You can experience tinnitus when inside a quiet room or a soundproof booth when you can become suddenly aware of the sound in your head. Impacted earwax, for example, will cause you to hear your own internal sounds like the rushing of your blood in your body, your own breathing, and your heartbeat.


Here's some of the most common reasons you may have tinnitus:

  • Prolonged exposure to loud noise
  • fluid in the ears
  • ear infection
  • diseases of the eardrum and ear bone changes
  • damage to the hearing nerves in the inner ear due to advancing age.

Medications are also known to cause tinnitus. These are aspirin, antibiotics, cancer medications, water pills, and some anti-depressants

My Favorite Guide to Help Tinnitus

Tinnitus: Turning the Volume Down (Revised & Expanded)
Tinnitus: Turning the Volume Down (Revised & Expanded)

One of the best books I've come across for Tinnitus. The author talks about his own experiences, the link between hearing disorders and stress, and the medications available to treat it.

 

What Are Its Causes?

Less common causes of tinnitus include TMJ, a jaw disorder when the temperomandibular joint becomes inflamed or painful. Another possible cause could be Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder. Head and neck trauma can also affect the inner ear and hearing nerves.

A benign tumor like acoustic neuroma on the cranial nerve, the part of the brain that controls hearing and balance, can also be a possible cause of tinnitus. (Source: Mayo Clinic)

Tinnitus, very rarely, could be a symptom of serious health problems like brain aneurysm, brain tumor, and blood vessel disorder caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, narrowing of the arteries, and head and neck tumors. (Source: OnHealth.com)

How Do (or Did) You Cope with Tinnitus?

See results

How Do You Treat Tinnitus?

For many, the condition can improve by treating the underlying cause or by managing the symptoms. If it’s due to a less serious health disorder, your doctor may be able to do something to reduce the noise.

Possible treatments include earwax removal, a change of medication, and treatment of blood vessel condition.

If it’s related to hearing loss, your doctor may recommend the use of a hearing aid. You doctor may also suggest the use electronic devices like a white noise machine that mimics the sound of nature to muffle the symptoms of tinnitus and help you sleep.

Air conditioners,electric fans, and humidifiers may also help mask annoying head sounds at night.

There are also masking devices that produce a low level white noise to help suppress tinnitus symptoms. You can also consider Tinnitus Retraining Therapy or TRT, a form of therapy that uses counseling and sound enrichment to help reduce your responsiveness to tinnitus. (Sources: Mayo Clinic)

Often, tinnitus is a chronic problem and can’t be permanently eradicated. However, many people get used to the condition. The best thing you can do for yourself if you have tinnitus is to stay positive. Tinnitus may be chronic condition but there are many creative ways of managing it.


Photo Credits:

Ear by Simon James /Flickr

Keisha Paddleboardin by Daniel Johnson/Flickr


© 2013 Christian Oberry

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    • profile image

      Tobyn 2 years ago

      I’m a long time tinnitus sufferer, and after several months searching for a solution finally found something that helped me a lot... I still hear some light ringing in my right ear when I'm in a quiet place but nothing like before!

      Take a look at the video on http://tinnitusmiracle.co.nf It explains all. I was a bit excepticall at first but after 2 weeks i began to see some improvement.

      I hope this can be useful for somebody :)

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 3 years ago from United States

      I often have that, and it's very distracting actually, especially when I have to listen to music on the earphones -- and I listen a lot! (on my one ear, the music sounds ok; but on the other one, it sounds out of tune). Anyway, thanks for your article. And yes, I try to stay positive despite the recurring tinnitus. :)

      Up and useful, shared. :)