What Causes Ringing in the Ears: Are you at Risk for Tinnitus

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While anyone can get tinnitus, there are some people who are more prone to developing this condition. This can include Caucasian people, men, and adults over the age of sixty-five and people who have age related hearing loss. Additionally, people who have been frequently exposed to loud noise for an extended period of time and individuals who suffer from PTSD are known to have higher rates of chronic tinnitus. So what causes this?

What Causes Ringing in the Ears: Spotting the Signs

Tinnitus is a symptom of a number of health conditions, effects from medications and blood vessel disorders. When it comes to what causes ringing in the ears, the most common culprit is age related hearing loss or exposure to loud noise. Abnormal bone growth in the ears and hard earwax buildup can also cause this condition. Less common causes can include depression or stress, Meniere’s disease, tumors and neck or head trauma.

The symptoms of tinnitus involve a frequent pulsating, ringing, buzzing or clicking noise that is heard without external sound being present. The noise can be heard in a high or low pitch and it can interfere with a person’s ability to concentrate.

In order to diagnose tinnitus a doctor will request a patient’s medical history, conduct an exam and perform a series of tests. The physician will check for foreign objects, hard earwax buildup, or hair that is rubbing against the eardrum. It’s important that the patient lets the doctor know if the sounds they hear are pulsating, intermittent or constant, and also if they also suffer from vertigo or hearing loss.

Tests such as auditory brain stem response, audiograms, MRIs and CT scans will be used in order to locate tumors or determine the potential cause of tinnitus.

If a doctor finds an underlying cause they will treat that condition and the tinnitus will usually subside. This can include treating blood vessel conditions, removing hard earwax or stopping certain medications. However, in many causes the underlying cause cannot be found. There are no specific treatments for buzzing inside the ears, but a physician may suggest some methods that can help to minimize the sounds. Masking devices, hearing aids and white noise machines can be used because they can help to suppress the sounds of tinnitus and make it more tolerable. While no medication can cure tinnitus there are some that can work to reduce the severity of the symptoms.

How to Avoid Certain Types of Tinnitus

You can avoid some types of tinnitus by following certain preventive measures, such as not using q-tips to clean the ears or wearing earplugs when attending a concert. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet can also work to prevent pulsatile tinnitus, which involves changes in blood flow that can be heard by the patient and physician. Typically, most cases of pulsatile tinnitus can be cured fairly easily.