The causes of tinnitus can be very hard to pinpoint. In many instances, those who live with it may never fully understand what caused it in their particular case. However, through research and treatment, there have been some common causes narrowed down that can contribute to it. These aren’t always related to ear health, as tinnitus is a symptom of other conditions, not a condition in itself. However, your audiologist may be able to help you better understand what is likely to be contributing to your tinnitus.
Many of the causes of hearing loss can also cause tinnitus. For instance, presbycusis, also known as age-related hearing loss, is the gradual deterioration of the inner ear, which can also cause tinnitus. Exposure to loud noises is another very common cause. We might suffer short-term ringing in the ears after seeing fireworks or going to a rock concert. Long-term exposure or extremely loud noises can cause permanent damage, as well, which often manifests as chronic tinnitus. If an audiologist is treating your tinnitus, they will often use a hearing test and may recommend a hearing aid as part of the relief strategy.
Ear Health Issues
There are a whole series of different issues related to your ear health that have been shown to tinnitus. This includes blockages caused by earwax build-up and middle ear infections. Meniere’s disease is a rare disease affecting the inner ear, which can also cause tinnitus, hearing loss, and increased pressure in the ear. Physical issues like a perforated eardrum are another common concern, often caused by infections, loud noises, or sudden changes in air pressure. Treating the underlying ear health issue with the help of an audiologist can sometimes reduce tinnitus or cause it to disappear, but it’s not guaranteed.
Stress And Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are two closely linked mental health issues that also have deep implications as far as you hearing health is concerned. People who frequently feel stressed or anxious are more likely to suffer from tinnitus and hearing loss. Tinnitus can obviously cause stress because it can be very difficult to live with and can disrupt your sleep. However, stress and anxiety can cause physical reactions, which may impact your hearing, as well as triggering increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and sleepless breathing. Because of their very close relationship, your emotional health may also be targeted by your audiologist as part of your tinnitus treatment.
As mentioned, you may never know the exact cause of your tinnitus, if you suffer from it. Even so, your audiologist can help you use different strategies to cope with it, such as using hearing aids with tinnitus masking features, so it is always worth making an appointment with them.