Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is usually caused by a head injury, an infection, a disease or exposure to loud sounds such as gunshots and explosions.
It can be a sign of hearing loss, or it can result from head injuries, or diseases that range from the common cold to diabetes. People who work with noisy equipment, such as power tools, can also get it. Or tinnitus may be initiated by a single loud noise, such as a gunshot or an explosion. It can also be a symptom of almost any ear disorder, including the following:
Tinnitus may also occur with other
disorders such as anemia, heart and blood vessel disorders including hypertension and arteriosclerosis, and low thyroid hormone levels in the blood (hypothyroidism).
A wide variety of conditions and illnesses can lead to tinnitus. Blockages of the ear due to a buildup of wax, an infection (Otitis Media), or rarely, a tumor of the auditory nerve can cause the unwanted
sounds. A perforated eardrum also could be the culprit. The most common source of chronic tinnitus is prolonged exposure to loud sounds from
sources such as blaring radios, gunshots, jackhammers, industrial machinery, rock concerts,
etc. The noise causes permanent damage to the sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea, a spiral- shaped organ in the inner ear. A single exposure to a sudden extremely loud noise can also cause tinnitus.
In sensitive people, the mercury in common amalgam dental fillings can lead to tinnitus. The ringing
could also be a signal that the body is overwhelmed with stress and work.
Temporary tinnitus can also results from loose ear hair or a fragment from a recent haircut. They get deposited close to the ear drum, vibrate and create thunderous notes.
Sinus congestion, antibiotics, aspirin, barbiturates, quinine containing medications, exposure to chemicals such as carbon monoxide from gasoline fumes or the benzene used by dry cleaners, or by excessive consumption of aspirin, alcohol, or caffeine can also results in tinnitus. In fact, tinnitus is cited as a potential side effect for about 200 prescription and nonprescription drugs. In these cases, the tinnitus usually disappears when the underlying triggers are controlled, limited, or avoided.
Exercise can cause tinnitus by disrupting the auditory system's normal function. According to the New England Journal of Medicine (February 1991), ringing in the ears may result from the jarring force of high-impact exercises.
The natural process of aging can result in a deterioration of the cochlea or other parts of the ear and lead to tinnitus. Tinnitus is also associated with Meniere's disease, a disorder of the inner ear, and otosclerosis, a degenerative disease of the small bones in the middle ear. Tinnitus can also be a symptom of a disorder of the neck or jaw, such as temporomandibular joint syndrome
For reasons not yet entirely clear to researchers,
stress seems to worsen tinnitus.
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