Common external sources include ear infections, foreign objects lodged in the ear, wax build-up or foreign hair. While there may be more than one cause, tinnitus most often occurs when there is an imbalance of some kind between the middle ear and outer ear.
Tinnitus Can Have Different Meanings & Causes
The term tinnitus can have several different meanings. The most common is hearing loss that occurs when a person’s hearing becomes compromised by external sources. However, it can also refer to any perceived loss in hearing ability.
Some people suffering from middle ear infection or those who regularly suffer from loud noise may develop tinnitus, while others may not experience hearing loss but only notice an increased perception of sound that is typically associated with tinnitus.
If you’re experiencing hearing loss and tinnitus, you should see your health professional so a diagnosis of both can be made.
Your health care professional will conduct a thorough exam, including a series of visual and ear testing sequences to determine if you do have any health conditions that could be behind your tinnitus. Often times a problem with the temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ, will be the culprit. TMJ is located near the ear on either side.
Some of the health conditions that can cause tinnitus include high blood pressure, allergies, sinus problems, meniere’s disease, and excessive wax build-up in the ear.
High Blood Pressure & Menier’s Disease Can Cause Tinnitus
If you do have tinnitus, you may be surprised to learn that there are several health conditions that can lead to or be an aggravating factor in your tinnitus. Some of these include Meniere’s disease, osteonecrosis (which can cause hearing loss and tinnitus), and middle ear effusion (which can lead to pulsatile tinnitus).
In addition, an increase of calcium in the inner ear (also known as endolymphatic hydrops) can lead to pulsatile tinnitus. Stress can also cause tinnitus, so it’s important to pay attention to your stress levels and make sure that they’re managed properly to avoid exacerbating your tinnitus.
High blood pressure, for instance, can cause your blood vessels to become large and constrict blood flow, resulting in fluid buildup in the ear, which in turn can cause some of the surrounding tissue to break down and be damaged, ultimately leading to tinnitus. The same can be said for allergies, sinus infections, or TMJ.
Meniere’s disease is an inflammatory disease of the inner ear, and it can cause a certain type of hearing loss, known as objective tinnitus. Other medications, such as certain medications used for high blood pressure, antibiotics, and certain medications used to treat high cholesterol can cause tinnitus.
It’s important to understand that there is no known cure for tinnitus, although certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol have been shown to help alleviate symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus. You should be aware of the possibility that your hearing loss and tinnitus may be connected to more than one cause.
It’s important to talk with your health care provider to discuss all of your options.
In addition to the health conditions mentioned above, tinnitus can also result from a hearing loss associated with other causes. For example, if you suffer from a conductive hearing loss due to age-related hearing loss, you may hear pulsing or clicking noises in your ears that aren’t actually caused by your tinnitus. This is most likely to occur if you wear headphones for long periods of time because the constant jarring motion wears down the wires and even the delicate ear bones. If this is the case, the only thing that you can do to prevent further damage to your hearing is to stop using the headphones. In the rare case that the damage is severe, however, you may want to consider replacing the headphones with a more suitable type of Bluetooth device, or seeing an audiologist to determine whether conductive hearing loss is behind your tinnitus.
Ringing in the ears or “ringing in the mind” as it’s often called can have a number of different causes, ranging from stress, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety to high levels of tinnitus. Some patients find that the sound of their own blood rushing into the head can be extremely annoying. If your tinnitus is the result of high blood pressure, reducing your blood pressure can often relieve or even cure the problem, although in many cases, the ringing in the ears will just go away on its own.