Unexplained noises in the ears can sometimes occur, a phenomenon known as tinnitus. Tinnitus can manifest intermittently or persistently. For most people, the experience of tinnitus is minor and easily overlooked.
However, some individuals find tinnitus to be highly bothersome, experiencing frequent and uncomfortable episodes. Drawing from information provided by the US health and medical outlet, WebMD, let’s explore the primary causes of tinnitus.
Excessive Earwax Accumulation: There’s no need to deliberately remove earwax. Earwax serves the purpose of preventing foreign substances from entering the ear and helps maintain ear health through its antimicrobial properties. However, if you experience hearing loss or tinnitus, it might be worth considering whether there is an excessive buildup of earwax.
When removing earwax at home, it’s important to handle ear swabs hygienically and avoid habitually inserting them too frequently. Ideally, seeking assistance from an otolaryngologist for earwax removal is recommended.
Increased Headphone Volume: Among those who frequently use earphones or headphones, there are individuals who tend to listen at high volumes. This is especially true when commuting on buses or trains or engaging in outdoor activities where external noise requires raising the volume. Prolonged exposure to such loud sounds can lead to noise-induced hearing loss.
Generally, this type of hearing loss is temporary and tends to recover within 72 hours. However, even with temporary hearing loss, tinnitus can still occur, particularly in individuals with existing hearing impairment.
Loud noises, such as the sound of hammering or drilling at construction sites, can also cause hearing impairment. If you find yourself in a noisy environment, using earplugs with effective noise-blocking capabilities is advisable.
Otitis Media and Sinusitis: Tinnitus can occur due to inflammation in the middle ear, known as otitis media, or inflammation in the nasal sinuses, known as sinusitis. If otitis media or sinusitis is suspected as a potential cause of tinnitus, seeking medical attention and receiving a prescription for antibiotics may help alleviate symptoms and improve tinnitus.
Head Injuries: Some individuals report experiencing tinnitus after hitting their head against a wall, for instance. When head trauma occurs, blood may seep into the back of the eardrum, leading to tinnitus. Usually, after a recovery period of around six weeks, hearing is restored, and tinnitus disappears.
In cases of falling and experiencing a concussion, tinnitus can also occur along with symptoms such as hearing loss and dizziness. While most cases resolve naturally, if several days pass without hearing recovery and tinnitus persists, it is advisable to seek medical examination.
Certain Medications: Some medications, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and diuretics, can cause tinnitus as a side effect. Drugs containing quinine can also trigger tinnitus. If you experience tinnitus while taking specific medications, consulting with a healthcare professional to explore alternative medications might be beneficial.
While these are the primary causes of tinnitus, it’s important to note that each individual’s experience may vary. If you are troubled by tinnitus or experience persistent symptoms, seeking professional medical advice is recommended for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.