What Causes Tinnitus?
Why are your ears suddenly ringing?
Ringing or buzzing in the ears can certainly be an annoying problem but the good news is that it’s rarely a sign of something serious; however, it doesn’t leave you any less curious as to why it might be happening. From the office of our Norwalk, CT, ENT doctor Dr. Andrew Parker, here’s what you should know about tinnitus or ringing in the ears, and when it might be time to see a doctor.
Most people who’ve gone to a concert have left with their ears ringing or buzzing for a few hours. This is considered short-term tinnitus. While these bouts of tinnitus are relatively normal and short-lived, it may be disconcerting when tinnitus becomes chronic (lasting for more than six months). In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, as many as 50 to 60 million people in the US experience symptoms of chronic tinnitus, particularly those over age 55.
What causes tinnitus?
It’s important to know that tinnitus is not a sign of disease, it is a symptom of another underlying issue. Ringing in the ears typically occurs when the hairs of the inner ear have become damaged. Again, you can refer to that loud concert above as a prime example. Loud noises can damage these little hairs, which results in ringing.
Other triggers include,
- Hearing loss
- Earwax buildup or impaction
- Certain medication such as aspirin, antidepressants and antibiotics
- An ear or sinus infection
- TMJ disorder
- High blood pressure
- Inner ear disorders
- Head or neck injuries
- Systemic conditions such as Lyme disease or fibromyalgia
If you develop tinnitus that doesn’t go away then it’s a good idea to see our Norwalk, CT, otolaryngologist for evaluation. We can perform a physical examination and run tests to determine the source of your tinnitus. By asking questions about your symptoms and conducting specialized tests we can figure out the cause of your tinnitus so that we know how to properly manage it. For example, if your tinnitus is caused by high blood pressure then medications to control your blood pressure, as well as lifestyle changes, can help lower your blood pressure to reduce or even eliminate tinnitus.
Some infections of the ear or sinuses will go away with home care; however, our doctor can also prescribe certain medications such as antibiotics (if the infection is bacterial) to help clear away the infection and improve your tinnitus. We will discuss your treatment options with you when you come into the office for an evaluation.
If you are living with tinnitus here in Norwalk, CT, and want to find out what’s going on, the team at Parker Ear, Nose & Throat can provide you with the answers you need. Call us today at (203) 866-8121.