What Causes Ringing in The Ears? – Know The Symptoms and Causes

Ringing in the ears or tinnitus affects about 15 to 20 percent of the population and the cases are increasing. There are many reasons for ringing in the ears, exposure to noise is the most common cause. Continue reading this blog to know the tinnitus symptoms and causes.

What is Ringing in The Ears or Tinnitus?

The medical term for ringing in the ears is tinnitus. It is a noise in the head heard in one ear or both ears. The ear ringing noise is not present outside or in our surroundings, but is present in the head. Only the person affected by tinnitus can hear it. Though the general term is ringing in the ears, everyone does not hear a ringing noise in the ears, people suffering from tinnitus hear different types of noise.

What Does Tinnitus Sound Like?

The sound may differ from person to person. Some of the common sounds people suffering from tinnitus hear are:

  • Ringing in ears
  • Buzzing in ear
  • Whistling sound in ear
  • Hissing sound in ear
  • Clicking sound in ear
  • Swishing sound in ear
  • Humming in ears
  • Whooshing sound in ear
  • High pitched sound in ear
  • Thumping sound in ear
  • Crackling noise in ear
  • Static sound in ear

What are the Tinnitus Symptoms?

Ringing in the Ears or Tinnitus blog image
Ringing in the Ears

Tinnitus affects people in different ways. The common factor in all the cases is the constant ringing in the ears. The type of tinnitus sound, the volume, or the intensity of the sound may change according to the time, place, and situation.

For some, the noise becomes unbearable at night due to the silence around. The noise may not be noticeable during the day as work keeps them occupied. Sometimes the external noise masks it or covers it. Tiredness or mental stress may also increase the intensity of the noise.

Ringing in the ears is also caused by listening to very loud music. For example, the ears keep ringing after a musical concert or an evening at a discotheque. This ringing may be temporary and disappears after proper rest. Sometimes regular detoxification of the ears is necessary. Read about the ear health tips to protect your hearing.

After resting, if the constant ringing in the ears refuses to go away, it could be a case of tinnitus and you should see your ENT doctor at the earliest.

Is Tinnitus an Illness?

Tinnitus is not an illness or a disease, it is the result of other issues, the issue could be anywhere in our auditory system. Our auditory system includes our ear, the auditory nerve that carries the sound signal to our brain, and the part of the brain that processes the sound signal.

What To Do for Ringing Ears?

Various tinnitus therapy techniques are available, a therapy suiting one person may not suit another as the cause of tinnitus may be different. Read about the various tinnitus therapy techniques.

What Causes Ringing in The Ears?

There are many reasons or causes of ringing in the ears or tinnitus, below are some of the common causes of tinnitus.

Here’s a short video on Tinnitus.

Exposure to Loud Sounds

Continuous exposure to loud sounds is a common reason for tinnitus, majority of the tinnitus cases are noise-induced. It is important for people working in factories, construction sites, or the ones exposed to a noisy environment to use noise reduction earplugs. Youngsters listening to loud music for long hours with their headphones are also prone to tinnitus.

Age-Related Hearing Loss

People suffering from hearing loss because of aging are more prone to tinnitus. Vascular diseases, middle ear diseases, diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune disorders, and degenerative neural disorders can cause ringing in the ears.

Can Ear Infection Cause Tinnitus?

Many people experience ringing in the ear after an ear infection. A severe ear infection causes a build-up of fluid in the ear, the fluid blocks the ear canal causing pressure changes in the ear. The pressure changes can cause tinnitus.

Ringing in the Ears Due to Head injury

An injury to the head near the ear or the spinal cord can result in ringing in the ears. Tinnitus due to damage to the bones or misalignment of the bones caused by the accident is known as somatic tinnitus. In this case, ringing is in one ear only, the injured ear, and not both ears.

Can Earwax Cause Tinnitus?

Though earwax is healthy, ear wax tinnitus is possible. Impacted or hardened earwax can cause tinnitus. If the hardened earwax touches the eardrum, it will result in ringing in the ears. There are chances that tinnitus might go away after the removal of earwax. Always keep your ears clean, do read about the tips to clean earwax at home.

Tinnitus Due to Otosclerosis (Middle Ear Bone Stiffness)

Stiffening of bones in the middle ear or middle ear dysfunction causes hearing loss as well as tinnitus.

Tinnitus and Brain Tumor

A benign tumor or acoustic neuroma affects the nerves running from the ear to the brain causing tinnitus. Tumors in the neck, head, and brain can cause ringing in the ears.

Blood Pressure and Ear Ringing

High blood pressure or other conditions that affect the blood vessels such as atherosclerosis or malformed blood vessels cause the blood to flow with more force. These blood flow changes can cause ringing in the ears. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) “there is existence of an association between hearing loss and arterial hypertension in individuals aged between 45 and 64 years.”

Can Antibiotics Cause Ringing in The Ears?

Excessive use of Medicines can Cause Ringing in the Ears blog image
Excessive use of Medicines can Cause Ringing in the Ears

Tinnitus is caused by long-term consumption of certain antibiotics and antidepressants. Consumption of medicines causes biochemical changes in the inner ear. A withdrawal of these medicines can reduce or cure tinnitus.

Alcohol and Tinnitus

One of the reasons for the occurrence of tinnitus is an unhealthy lifestyle. It includes excessive consumption of alcohol, coffee, smoking, and drug abuse. The scientific opinion on coffee being associated with tinnitus is divided as some studies do not indicate a direct corelation. However, stimulants like caffeine can increase blood pressure causing a spike in tinnitus.

The other reasons for tinnitus are:

• Ménière’s disease
• Hormonal changes in women
• Thyroid abnormalities
• Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD, TMJ)
• Genetic or inherited inner ear disorders

The above are some of the causes, but not all, your ENT doctor will determine the exact cause of your Tinnitus.

Celebrities suffering from Tinnitus

Below are some of the famous Musicians who suffer from Tinnitus.

  • Chris Martin
  • Eric Clapton
  • Neil Young
  • Will. I. Am

Tinnitus generally affects people over 40. The cases have been increasing and it is affecting younger people as well. People who listen to loud music with the headphones are at higher risk of getting tinnitus.

Use Ear Plugs as far as possible and maintain a good diet for good Ear Health.