Tinnitus Causes and Symptoms

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buzzing in the earsIf you’re experiencing an occasional buzzing (or ringing, tinkling, hissing or roaring) in your ears, which doesn’t get better or go away after a few minutes, you are probably suffering from a condition called tinnitus. People with tinnitus may hear sounds which don’t come from their surrounding and nobody else can hear. These sounds may keep pace with your breathing, heartbeat; they may be constant or come-and-go. This buzzing in the ears is most common in people older than 40, especially in male patients. 

In general, there are two types of tinnitus: no-pulsatile and pulsatile tinnitus. The first one is caused by medical problems in the nerves which are involved with hearing. If someone suffers from this tinnitus type, they may hear sounds in both or just one ear. On the other hand, pulsatile tinnitus is usually caused by sounds created by the movement of muscles nearby the ear, vascular problems in the neck or face or by changes in the ear canal. People that suffer from this tinnitus type may hear sounds such as contractions or pulsation.

Usually, hearing loss which occurs with aging is what causes the tinnitus. Nevertheless, this medical condition can also be caused by working or living around loud noises and that is called acoustic trauma. Buzzing in the ears can occur with all types of hearing loss and it can be a symptom of many other ear disorders. Besides acoustic trauma and presbycusis (hearing loss), other possible causes of this medical condition include:

  • Eardrum rupture and ear infections
  • Dental or other oral problems
  • Injuries (whiplash, direct blow etc)
  • Inner ear injuries
  • Barotrauma – a rapid change in environmental pressure
  • An earwax buildup
  • Excessive dieting or malnutrition
  • Medications – such as aspirin and antibiotics
  • Alcohol or caffeinated beverages in excessive amount
  • Neurological disorders, such as migraine, multiple sclerosis etc.
  • Vascular problems – hypertension, carotid atherosclerosis etc.

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