Tinnitus, is not a disease, but is associated as a symptom of a possible underlying health condition. A majority of the cases diagnosed with tinnitus have been proven to be a sensory reaction in the brain to some sort of damage in the ear and auditory system.

Tinnitus is generally associated with impaired hearing – but there are a variety of health issues that can have tinnitus as a symptom.

Those who are experiencing tinnitus on a regular basis should see a physician or hearing health professional for a full examination to diagnose the underlying cause.

Health issues and tinnitus

  • Hearing loss: Hearing loss is normally associated with tinnitus. Hearing loss types can include age-related hearing loss or noise-induced hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss often starts around the age of 55-60. This form of hearing loss is normally bilateral (in both ears.) Noise-induced hearing loss can result because of exposure to loud noises over time or as a result of a traumatic experience. According to research, the loss of specific sound frequencies can cause changes in how the brain processes sound – which can be lead to tinnitus.
  • Blockages: Blockages in the ear canal can cause pressure to build up in the inner. This affects the way the ear drum works. The perception of tinnitus symptoms can occur when those blockages touch the eardrum. Excessive earwax, head congestion or dirt and foreign objects. Removing those blocks can make tinnitus symptoms go away, but in some cases, the blocks could have caused permanent damage.
  • Physical trauma: Injury to the head or neck can cause issues with the nerves, blood flow and muscles that can result in tinnitus. Tinnitus related to head, neck or dental conditions is sometimes called somatic tinnitus.
  • Temperomandibular joint disorder: TMJ is where the lower jaw connects the skull and is located in front of the ears, can lead to tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus patients with TMJ will experience pain in the face or jaw.
  • Nasal congestion: Congestion from a cold, flu or sinusitis can create abnormal pressure in the middle ear – which can influence normal hearing and cause tinnitus. Changes in air or water pressure can also damage the middle or inner ear.
  • Certain medications: There are medications associated with tinnitus as a side effect. Most of these cases are non-permanent. There are certain types of medications that can cause permanent tinnitus though.

There are a number of other conditions associated with tinnitus. Speak with your hearing healthcare provider to ensure you’re receiving the proper treatment to help you find relief from that ringing-in-the-ears sensation.