Understanding Tinnitus: What Causes That Ringing In Your Ears?

Have you ever felt a distinct sensation and ringing in your ear? If yes, let us tell you what it is, how it happens, and why it happens.

Tinnitus is a term used to describe the uncommon sound of ringing, buzzing, and sometimes roaring. Ringing in the ear can happen to any of us, even kids. But there’s nothing to worry about because ear ringing is the most common thing that happens with around 10% of the adult population. Two cases can happen with people suffering from this. 

  1. Number one, it may go away over time;
  2. Number two, it may improve over time.

This is why, we suggest you to consult an audiologist if it lasts more than three months.


What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the ringing sound in the ear that does not come from any external sources. This is caused by several reasons that make people hear noises no one else can hear. These noises include ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling, humming, clicking, hissing, or squealing (screaming).

Most of the time, ringing in the ear does not greatly affect our lifestyle. But sometimes, it can make your mood swing, make you feel irritated or angry, cause sleep difficult, and may lead to anxiety and depression.

Common Causes Of Tinnitus

Let’s see those very common causes that led you to Tinnitus:-

  • Exposure to Loud Noise
    Prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as in noisy workplaces, concerts, or through personal audio devices at high volumes, can damage the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to ringing in the ear.
  • Age-Related Hearing Loss
    Gradual hearing loss with age, known as presbycusis, can contribute to ringing in the ear as the auditory system changes.
  • Earwax Buildup
    Accumulation of earwax can obstruct the ear canal, causing pressure changes and affecting the normal functioning of the auditory system.
  • Hearing Loss
    Any form of hearing loss, whether age-related, noise-induced, or due to other factors, can lead to changes in the auditory system that contribute to strange sound in the ear.
  • Ear Infections
    Infections in the ear, particularly in the middle ear, can cause inflammation and affect the transmission of sound signals.
  • Certain Medications
    Some medications, such as high doses of aspirin, certain antibiotics, and certain antidepressants, may lead to ear ringing as a side effect.
  • Head and Neck Injuries
    Trauma to the head or neck, such as in accidents or sports injuries, can affect the auditory system and cause uncommon sound in the ear.
  • Excessive Caffeine or Nicotine Consumption
    High intake of caffeine or nicotine has been associated with an increased risk of ringing in the ear.
  • Stress and Anxiety
    Stress and anxiety can exacerbate existing Tinnitus or contribute to its perception. Emotional factors may influence the perception of this strange noises in ear.

Diseases Causing Tinnitus

  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders
    Disorders affecting the TMJ, which connects the jaw to the skull, can influence the auditory system and contribute to ear ringing.
  • Cardiovascular Issues
    Conditions affecting blood flow, such as high blood pressure or atherosclerosis, can impact the blood supply to the auditory system and result to ringing in the ear. 
  • Meniere’s Disease
    An inner ear disorder, Meniere’s disease, characterized by fluctuating hearing loss, vertigo, and Tinnitus, can lead to chronic Tinnitus.
  • Otosclerosis
    Otosclerosis is an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear that can interfere with the movement of the stapes bone, affecting hearing and causing this syndrome. 
  • Systemic Diseases
    Certain systemic diseases, such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or thyroid issues, can impact the auditory system and makes you hear unnatural sounds. 

The Impact Of Stress And Anxiety On Tinnitus

Let’s break down the impact of stress and anxiety on Tinnitus in simpler terms.

The role of this syndrome is not so huge but still concern able. Has happened many times that people with tinnitus face stress, anxiety, and depression. Thus, it is important to understand how well one can cope with these four things. 

1. Making Tinnitus Sound Louder

What Happens: Stress and anxiety can make ringing seem louder or more bothersome.

Why: When stressed, we become more aware of internal sounds, which can make  feel more pronounced.

2. Emotional Impact

What Happens: Ear ringing can be emotionally distressing, and stress/anxiety can make these feelings more intense.

Why: Stress makes it easier to feel frustrated or helpless, adding to the emotional toll of dealing with ear ringing.

3. Trouble Sleeping

What Happens: Stress and anxiety can mess with sleep, and strange noises in the ear can make it harder to rest.

Why: When stress and tinnitus team up, sleep can become a struggle, affecting overall well-being.

Seeking Professional Help

We know that dealing with Tinnitus can be challenging, but seeking professional help on time is important to find relief. So, make sure you schedule an appointment with an audiologist or an ENT care specialist. These professionals can accurately identify the cause and type of ringing you are feeling. Also, these professionals will create a very personalized plan according to your needs. 

Important Tip: Be open during your appointment, sharing information about when it started, its intensity, and any factors that affect it.

What Happens During Your Appointment With Decibel Clinic?

During the appointment, the ear specialist may conduct tests and examinations to understand your condition better, following their recommendations, including lifestyle changes, hearing aids, or speech therapy. Additionally, do explore sound therapy options, such as white noise machines or hearing aids with built-in sound generators, to manage your Tinnitus effectively.

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