Causes of tinnitus
The causes of tinnitus vary.
Most commonly, tinnitus is caused by exposure to noise. Working in noisy surroundings for many years without using special protective equipment increases the risk of developing tinnitus as well as hearing loss.
Leisure activities may also trigger tinnitus. This includes anything from the extensive use of MP3 players to chain saws and musical instruments. Aging rock stars typically suffer from tinnitus after having spent years in front of gigantic loudspeakers without hearing protection.
Concert audiences exposed to high noise levels are in the danger zone, as well. It is always advisable to use ear plugs when attending concerts or taking part in other noisy activities.
Also, people who use firearms are at high risk.
Anybody can suffer from ringing in his/her ears after exposure to excessive or loud noise. When this happens it is advisable to seek quieter surroundings or wear hearing protection.
Use hearing protection
Earplugs or other hearing protection often prevents tinnitus that otherwise would be caused by excessive noise. You should always wear hearing protection when subjected to loud noise, even if you do not find the noise uncomfortable. Hearing loss at higher frequencies is often painless, and the most common result is tinnitus.
You should also bear in mind that the damaging effect on the hair cells in the inner ear is accumulated over time. After constant exposure to excessive noise, it takes less to develop tinnitus or hearing loss.
Even a single incident of exposure to an extremely loud noise, such as fireworks or other explosions or a gun shot fired close to the ear can trigger hearing loss or tinnitus.
Other causes of tinnitus may include:
- Blows to your head
- Large doses of certain drugs such as aspirin
- Compacted ear wax
- Middle ear infections
- Menièrè’s disease
- Head trauma
- Perilymp fistula (a hole in the inner ear, allowing fluid to escape)
- Certain types of tumours
- Dysfunction of the joint connecting the jaw to the bone under the ear