What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a very common health complaint, affecting millions of people every single year. It can be described as hearing sounds even when there is no external sound outlet. In most cases, the sounds will manifest as clicks, buzzes and whistles. The condition can cause pain and discomfort, impacting the victim’s physical and mental health on a daily basis.
Before seeing the audiologist to find a way to manage the condition, you’ll first want to know what’s causing it. Tinnitus is actually a by-product of an underlying issue, which is why it may be rooted by a variety of sources. Here are some of the most common:
Tinnitus is often linked to hearing loss, and it’s not hard to understand why. The lack of picking up external sounds ensures that the internal noises are more noticeable. Furthermore, the brain will be working harder in a bid to compensate for the sounds it’s not picking up from the ears. The audiologist will almost certainly want to test your hearing as part of the tinnitus investigations.
Exposure to loud noises, either huge noise over a short period or loud noises such as music on a prolonged basis, can cause tinnitus too. The damage caused to the hair cells can harm your hearing and increase the threat of tinnitus. Moreover, the ringing in your ears can cause the tinnitus to feel even worse in the short-term. The audiologist can help you avoid this with the right protection.
Earwax and infections
An obstruction caused by earwax can stop sounds from entering your ear while also causing clicks and whirling due to air pressure within the ear canal. Similarly, infections can cause tinnitus symptoms to surface and become more noticeable. In both of these cases, the issues are likely to be temporary, which is why seeing the audiologist to find a solution is advised.
Meniere’s disease is a disorder within the inner ear. It is very rare, but is known to cause tinnitus as well as vertigo, hearing loss and pressure in the inner ear. The audiologist will run initial inspections at your appointment, but may require additional testing at future dates if it is believed you may have this condition. This is the perhaps the least likely reasons for tinnitus, though.
Fluid in the ear
Glue ear is a condition where the middle part of the ear becomes filled with fluid. As this moves around in the ear, it can cause the sounds to occur. Glue ear also often leads to infections, which makes tinnitus feel even worse. Swimmer’s ear is another common source of similar problems. The audiologist can help you overcome these temporary issues and avoid repeat episodes.
Body and health changes
The ears are hugely delicate because they are influenced by your general health. Head injuries, changes in blood flow caused by anemia, acoustic neuroma, thyroid issues and diabetes can all lead to tinnitus. Likewise, it is possible that tinnitus symptoms will surface as a reaction to medications. By providing a full medical history, the audiologist can confirm or reject these possibilities.
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