Many of us have experienced a ringing in the ears, otherwise known as tinnitus, at some point. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10% of the U.S. adult population has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.
Tinnitus is not a disease itself, but rather a symptom of another condition. While the cause cannot always be identified, there are several well-known conditions that can cause tinnitus.
Conditions That Lead to Tinnitus
While not an exhaustive list, these are some conditions that can trigger tinnitus.
- Hearing loss. Hearing loss often occurs when there is damage to the hair cells of the inner ear. Damage to these cells often causes people to experience tinnitus as well.
- Ear infections. When your ear is infected, your ear canal can become blocked by fluid. This blockage has the potential to change the pressure in your ear, which triggers tinnitus.
- Head or neck trauma. Any injury to the head or neck that causes nerve damage, problems with blood flow, or muscle issues can increase the perception of tinnitus.
- Ototoxic medications. Some medications can damage the ear. This can lead to hearing loss, balance problems and tinnitus. Types of drugs that may cause ear damage can include anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics, cancer drugs, diuretics and antidepressants. Stopping and switching to a different medication may resolve the issue. However, never stop medications without consulting your doctor first.
Other causes of tinnitus may include:
- Blood vessel disorders
- Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
- Acoustic neuromas or other head and neck tumors
- Thyroid conditions
- Muscle spasms in your inner ear
Options for Managing Tinnitus
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, it’s important to treat any underlying conditions that may be causing it. If no cause can be identified, there are several options for managing your tinnitus.
- Hearing aids
- Noise suppression using white noise or noise masking devices
- Tinnitus retraining therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Stress reduction techniques such as breathing exercises or taking a gentle yoga class at Lala Hot Yoga
- Medications to reduce depression and/or anxiety
If you are suffering from tinnitus, it’s important to know that options are available to improve your quality of life. Call The Hear Care Center today for more information or to schedule an appointment.