It is important to remember that tinnitus is a symptom, not a standalone medical condition. Even if you do not exhibit any symptoms other than a ringing in the ears, your tinnitus may still be linked to a problem, health issue, or even a disease that has not yet been diagnosed.
Common Causes and Risk Factors of Tinnitus
There are many different causes of tinnitus, and some people are more at risk of developing head noise than others. You may be suffering tinnitus as a result of:
- Hearing loss. The aging process can cause the structures of the inner ear to deteriorate, causing some people to perceive noises that aren’t there.
- Noise exposure. Loud music and high noise levels are major causes of head noise, and can affect patients at any age. People can prevent both hearing loss and tinnitus caused by noise exposure by wearing ear protection while performing loud tasks (such as mowing the lawn, firing guns, or using power tools) and limiting the volume on personal music devices.
- Medical conditions. An infection in the ear canal, head injuries, and surgery near the ear can all cause temporary tinnitus. It is important to speak with your doctor about potential diseases that can cause tinnitus, including Ménière’s disease, thyroid imbalance, or brain tumors.
- Medications. Many medications can cause tinnitus as a side effect, while some drugs are potentially harmful to the ear (ototoxic). Be sure to discuss your medications and supplements with your hearing care professional to determine if one or a combination could be causing a ringing in your ears.
- Lifestyle choices. Some personal habits increase the risk and perception of tinnitus. Smoking constricts blood vessels, affecting blood flow to the ears and making tinnitus more noticeable. Dietary choices, including caffeine and high salt intake, can also worsen tinnitus symptoms.
If you are ready to take control of your tinnitus, we are here to help. We have office locations throughout Delaware and Maryland, making it easy for you to begin treatment as soon as possible. Use our quick contact form to make an appointment with our hearing care professionals today!