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What Is Tinnitus And Causes Of Tinnitus?


Tinnitus is the condition in which you experience ringing or some other noises in one side or both of your ears. External sound is not the cause of this noise. Some people are unable to hear this sound usually. It is a common issue.

It affects approximately 15 to 20% of people. This condition is common in older adults. Any underlying condition like ear injury, age-related hearing, or issues with the circulatory system cause this condition. 

Tinnitus improves with the right treatment in many people. Treatments help to reduce the sound and make it less noticeable for people. 


The condition of tinnitus is described as hearing the sound of ringing in your ears even if no external sound is present. It can also lead to other phantom noises in human ears that include:

  • Clicking
  • Roaring
  • Buzzing
  • Humming
  • Hissing

Most people who experience the symptoms of tinnitus have subjective tinnitus or tinnitus that only they can hear. The pitch of tinnitus noise varies from lower to a high squeal. You may hear such voices in one or both ears.

The sound can be much louder in some cases that can disrupt your ability to concentrate on external sounds. You become unable to properly hear those sounds. It may come and go or be present all the time. It can also occur as a whooshing or rhythmic pulsing sound.

But this case occurs rarely. It can also occur in time with a human heartbeat that is called pulsatile tinnitus. Your doctor may hear the voice of your tinnitus during an examination (objective tinnitus)  if you are experiencing pulsatile tinnitus.

Some people are not irritated or bothered by this condition. But others feel the disruption in their daily life work. If the symptoms of tinnitus are bothering you, see your doctor.


Various health conditions can lead to mild or worsening symptoms of tinnitus. In many cases, doctors do not know the exact cause of tinnitus.

Common Tinnitus Causes

Following are the common causes of tinnitus in many people.

Hearing Loss

Tiny, delicate cells of hair are present in your inner ear or cochlea. These cells move when you receive waves of sound in your ear. Such movements trigger electrical signals along specific nerves from the area of your ear to the brain (auditory nerve).

The human brain perceives such signals as sound. If the hairs present inside your ear are broken or bent, they cause the leakage of random electrical impulses to the brain that leads to tinnitus. It happens as you get older or when you are exposed to different loud sounds regularly.

Ear Infection Or Blockage Of Canal

Fluid can build up in your ear that can cause ear infections and block the ear canals. Earwax, foreign materials, and dirt can also block ear canals. This blockage changes the pressure of air in your ear and causes tinnitus.

Neck Or Head Injuries

Neck or head trauma affects the inner side of your ear, hearing nerves, and certain brain functions associated with hearing. These injuries cause tinnitus in your one ear only.


Different medications can induce the symptoms of tinnitus or make it worse. Generally, the symptoms of tinnitus become worse as you get a higher dose of these medications. When you stop the use of such drugs, then the unwanted noise disappears itself.

Medications that are known for inducing the symptoms of tinnitus in people are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cancer drugs, antimalarial drugs, certain antibiotics, water pills, and antidepressants.

The causes of tinnitus that are less common include chronic conditions related to your health, injuries, or the condition that affects the hearing center in the region of your brain and nerves present in your ear. These causes are given below.

  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Meniere‚Äôs disease
  • Ear bone changes
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Muscle spasms in the area of the inner ear
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Head or neck tumors
  • Disorders of blood vessels

Other chronic conditions such as issues of thyroid, diabetes, anemia, and migraine can also cause tinnitus in your ear. Some autoimmune disorders are linked with the development of symptoms of tinnitus. Examples of these disorders are lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

If you are experiencing disruption in your daily life working due to the discomfort caused by tinnitus then see your doctor. Early medical care can help you to prevent the symptoms of tinnitus.


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