Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. A common problem, tinnitus affects about 15 to 20 percent of people. Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself — it’s a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.
A number of health conditions can cause or worsen tinnitus. In many cases, an exact cause is never found.
A common cause of tinnitus is inner ear hair cell damage. Tiny, delicate hairs in your inner ear move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. This triggers cells to release an electrical signal through a nerve from your ear (auditory nerve) to your brain. Your brain interprets these signals as sound. If the hairs inside your inner ear are bent or broken, they can “leak” random electrical impulses to your brain, causing tinnitus.
Other causes of tinnitus include other ear problems, chronic health conditions, and injuries or conditions that affect the nerves in your ear or the hearing center in your brain.
Common causes of tinnitus
In many people, tinnitus is caused by one of these conditions:
- Age-related hearing loss. For many people, hearing worsens with age, usually starting around age 60. Hearing loss can cause tinnitus. The medical term for this type of hearing loss is presbycusis.
- Exposure to loud noise. Loud noises, such as those from heavy equipment, chain saws and firearms, are common sources of noise-related hearing loss. Portable music devices, such as MP3 players or iPods, also can cause noise-related hearing loss if played loudly for long periods. Tinnitus caused by short-term exposure, such as attending a loud concert, usually goes away; both short- and long-term exposure to loud sound can cause permanent damage.
- Earwax blockage, Ear bone changes.
Other causes of tinnitus
Some causes of tinnitus are less common, including:
Meniere’s disease. TMJ disorders,Head injuries or neck injuries, Acoustic neuroma. Eustachian tube dysfunction. Muscle spasms in the inner ear,blood vessel disorders linked to tinnitus,Atherosclerosis, Head and neck tumors, High blood pressure, Turbulent blood flow, Malformation of capillaries,Medications that can cause tinnitus
Medications known to cause or worsen tinnitus include:
Antibiotics, Cancer medications, Water pills (diuretics), Quinine medications used for malaria or other health conditions, Certain antidepressants, Aspirin taken in uncommonly high doses (usually 12 or more a day)
Tinnitus Retraining therapy (Tinnitus Masker)
Tinnitus retraining therapy is a form of habituation therapy designed to help people who experience tinnitus, a ringing, buzzing, hissing, or other sound in the ears when no external sound is present. Two key components of TRT directly follow from the neurophysiological model of tinnitus. One of these principles includes directive counseling aimed at reclassification of tinnitus to a category of neutral signals, while the other includes sound therapy which is aimed at weakening tinnitus related neuronal activity.
Cognitive behavioral therapy