When you hear a constant buzzing or ringing noise in a quite environment don’t get nervous into thinking you’re going crazy and that you’re hearing things because you might just have tinnitus. Tinnitus causes actually vary from one person to another.Tinnitus is a common problem characterized as ringing in the ears. It is a symptom of an underlying condition either from hearing loss or ear injury. It can be a resulting damage to the inner ear or a side effect of a medication. To know more about the tinnitus causes we need to understand the normal hearing process first.
Sound passes through the outer ear, middle ear and into the inner ear. The inner ear contains a spiral tube called cochlea and the auditory nerve. The cochlea contains hair cells that transmit the sounds to the brain via the auditory nerve. When there is damage on the nerve cells inside the inner ear false signals are sent to the brain. These false signals cause the noise in a person suffering from tinnitus.
Other tinnitus causes aside from nerve damage are as follows:
- Deposition or build up of ear wax causes blockage and can contribute to tinnitus.
- Infections in the middle ear like Otitis Media
- A condition called otosclerosis can cause ringing in the ears. It is a hereditary condition of an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear.
- Meniere’s syndrome a condition affecting a middle ear structure called labyrinth which promotes balance can cause tinnitus symptoms.
- Perforated eardrum causes abnormal vibrations that cause tinnitus symptoms.
Since tinnitus is not considered as a condition in itself and can be regarded as a symptom or complication from an underlying condition here are some rare tinnitus causes.
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- Head injury – can damage the inner ear thus producing abnormal sound impulses transmitted to the brain.
- Exposure to loud noise such as loud speakers, gun fire or a big explosion.
- Acoustic neuroma – growth of a tumor that presses on the receptor cells may transmit abnormal impulses that can cause the continuous ringing sound.
- Medication side effects – some medications causes hearing imbalance and a ringing sound definitive of tinnitus. Some examples are antibiotics, diuretics, aspirin and quinine.
- Drug and alcohol abuse can cause symptoms of tinnitus.
- High blood pressure causes vibrations in the inner ear which contributes to symptoms of tinnitus.
- Diseases of the thyroid gland are also linked with tinnitus.
- Fluids in the ear can cause a ringing sound along with discomfort and ear ache.
- Other medical conditions can also cause tinnitus like Fabry’s disease, Warthin’s tumor, Aplastic anemia and Schwannoma.
The most common among the tinnitus causes
Mentioned above is age related hearing loss. Older individuals experiences gradual hearing loss as they reached the age of 60. As their hearing worsens, constant ringing in the ears can be heard. To decrease discomfort from tinnitus one must avoid loud noise or wear earplugs when exposed to loud recurring noise. This will prevent further damage to hearing and can help alleviate tinnitus.