Understanding the Causes of Tinnitus

January 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Tinnitus, Tinnitus Explained

There are numerous causes of Tinnitus, Tinnitus itself is not a disease, but rather an indicator that there is a problem with the auditory system. It is important to understand what might have caused the Tinnitus to be able to treat the symptoms in the best possible way. In many cases, treating the underlying cause of Tinnitus will have the effect of removing the symptoms.

So what does cause Tinnitus? Listed below are the main factors on the onset of tinnitus:

  • Exposure to loud noise – for example working in a loud noise environment or regularly listening to loud music is found to be a primary cause of tinnitus
  • Blood flow – The build up of fatty deposits inside an artery can cause the artery walls to narrow which makes blood harder to flow and as a consequence becomes noisier.
  • Developing an ear infection
  • Damage to the ear such as perforated ear drum can make you more aware of internal sounds
  • Acoustic nerve damage often as a result of a vial infection
  • Build up of impacted ear wax which blocks the ear canal can lead to a temporary form of Tinnitus
  • Allergies
  • Experiencing a head or neck injury
  • Side effect of medication such as antibiotics, diuretics, anti-depressants and drugs to treat cancer
  • Ingestion of too much aspirin
  • Hearing Loss – Tinnitus is often the result of hearing loss, particularly age-related hearing loss as the auditory system is thought to start deteriorating at around age 60
  • Meniere’s disease – disease of the inner ear caused by imbalance of inner ear fluid pressure
  • Paget’s disease – the normal cycle of bone renewal and repair is disrupted
  • Migraine headaches
  • Tumours
  • Acoustic neuroma – a non cancerous growth that affects the hearing nerve in the middle ear
  • Otosclerosis – this is an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear
  • Sinusitis – the interconnection of the ear, nose and throat mean that sinusitis can lead to symptoms of Tinnitus due to build up of pressure
  • The common cold can causes temporary symptoms of tinnitus

A number of underlying medical conditions can also cause Tinnitus such as;

  • Epilepsy
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Diabetes and thyroid problems
  • Anaemia – this is caused by a reduced number of blood cells in the body. The thinner blood can flow around the body at a faster rate than normal which can produce a sound
  • Vascular problems (circulatory disorders)
  • Heart disease

There are also a number of risk factors which can encourage the onset of Tinnitus or exacerbate an existing condition, such as:

  • High intake of caffeine
  • Excessive smoking
  • Drug and alcohol misuse
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Stress and anxiety
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