Having one of the many bugs that call Georgetown home flying around your head and buzzing in your ear is annoying. Imagine hearing that sound every so often with no bug in sight. This is what it is like to have tinnitus. So, what is the cause of tinnitus? This bugless buzzing can be heard all the time or can come and go. It can be in one or both ears and can present in a variety of pitches.
What is Tinnitus
Tinnitus is actually quite common; almost 20 percent of the population reports some degree of tinnitus. Contrary to popular belief, it is a symptom of an underlying condition or a side effect, instead of a condition itself. In addition to a buzzing sound, tinnitus may present as a ringing, roaring, clicking or hissing.
There are two kinds of tinnitus: subjective and objective. Subjective is the most common type; it is a ringing only you can hear. The second type of tinnitus is called objective, and occurs when your doctor can hear the ringing during an examination.
Causes of Tinnitus
The most common cause of tinnitus is inner ear damage. Inside the inner ear, there are small hairs. Sound waves cause these hairs to move; these movements send an electrical signal through the auditory nerve to your brain where it is interpreted as sound. If these hairs become damaged they can randomly send electrical impulses to your brain, causing tinnitus. Age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noise and earwax blockage are all common conditions that cause inner ear damage.
Tinnitus is a common side effect of many disorders, such as:
- Ménière’s disease
- Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ disorders)
- A head or neck injury
- Acoustic neuroma
- High blood pressure
- A head or neck tumor
- Irregular blood flow
There are also more than 200 drugs known to list tinnitus as a side effect. This is the easiest cause to remedy as this tinnitus treatment involves speaking with your Cedar Park audiologist and simply switching your medication.
If you think you may be suffering from tinnitus, don’t wait to seek help. Contact your Cedar Park audiologist serving Cedar Park and North Austin today.