Tinnitus - Causes

What caused your tinnitus?

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What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus can arise in any of the following areas: the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear, or by abnormalities in the brain. Some tinnitus or head noise is normal. If one goes into a sound proof booth and normal outside noise is diminished, one becomes aware of these normal sounds. We are usually not aware of these normal body sounds, because outside noise masks them. Anything, such as ear wax or a foreign body in the external ear, that blocks these background sounds will cause us to be more aware of our own head sounds. Fluid, infection, or disease of the middle ear bones or ear drum (tympanic membrane) can also cause tinnitus.

One of the most common causes of tinnitus is damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear. Advancing age is generally accompanied by a certain amount of hearing nerve impairment, and consequently chronic tinnitus.

Today, loud noise exposure is a very common cause of tinnitus, and it often damages hearing as well. Unfortunately, many people are unconcerned about the harmful effects of excessively loud noise, firearms, and high intensity music.

Some medications (for example, aspirin) and other diseases of the inner ear (Meniere's syndrome) can cause tinnitus. Tinnitus can in very rare situations be a symptom of such serious problems as a brain aneurysm or a brain tumor (acoustic tumor).

Picture of the Ear Anatomy
Picture of the Ear Anatomy

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See what others are saying

Comment from: AKfreedom, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 02

Mine started 4 years ago after a 3 week stay in ICU fighting pneumonia. I was very close to death and to save me they gave me massive doses of antibiotics and steroids. I am thankful to be alive but have to live with severe ringing in both ears that never stops. I have read that it can drive people insane so I just try not to think about it and live my life as best I can. I would pay a lot to have it go away but suspect I will just have to live with it. I have not tried any "remedies" as I am sure it's all snake oil. If there was something that really worked the doctor would have it.

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Comment from: Ginap1563, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 05

About a year ago I awoke from a sound sleep because of an extremely loud high pitched whistle noise. I went all through the house and even outside trying to find the source of this loud noise and finally realized it was within my own head. Honesty it was so unbearable if I had a gun I would have shot myself in the head to make it stop. A year later I still have tinnitus! Doctors have no clue and don't really seem to care. I have to sleep with my TV volume on 50 just to try and drown the noise. During the day (most days anyway) it's tolerable because of other noises masking the sound. Night time is terrible! I have noticed that it is much louder when I am extremely stressed which is almost always! OTC medicines do not help! I also notice that a prescription medicine I was prescribed about 6 months ago (Adderall) makes it louder. I am so sick of trying to live with this condition with no answers. At least I know I am not alone! I am sorry you guys have it to, but at least we can identify and share.

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