Tinnitus is a condition in which a person hears a buzzing, whistling or ringing in their ears when there is no external stimulus present. Tinnitus is a prevalent issue, affecting nearly 15 percent of the US population at some point. Tinnitus is a symptom, not a condition, which means that you will need to turn to our board-certified otolaryngologists Dr. Robert Jacobs, Dr. Richard Liu and Dr. Sarah Carroll to pinpoint the cause of your tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
While tinnitus can certainly be annoying, it can be a relief to know that usually, this symptom isn’t anything serious. Sometimes there is no explainable cause for a person’s tinnitus, other times tinnitus is caused by,
- Cell damage within the inner ear
- Hearing loss related to age
- Exposure to loud noises
- Impacted earwax or a blockage
- Otosclerosis (a condition that results in stiffening of the middle ear bones)
Less common causes of tinnitus include,
- TMJ disorders
- Meniere’s disease (an inner ear disorder)
- A neuroma (benign tumor) within the inner ear
- Dysfunction of the Eustachian tubes
- Muscle spasms within the inner ear
- Blood vessel disorders (hypertension; constricted blood flow within the carotid artery)
- Certain medications (e.g., antidepressants; antibiotics; cancer medications)
Seeing an Otolaryngologist
While tinnitus is usually a benign and harmless problem, some conditions that cause or worsen tinnitus warrant seeing a medical professional. You should turn to our ENT specialists for care if,
- Symptoms appear suddenly, and there is no known cause
- You experience hearing loss or diminished hearing
- You also experience dizziness along with tinnitus
Since many things can cause tinnitus, there is no one way to treat this issue. First, we will need to find out what’s causing your tinnitus. Based on your current health, medical history and the symptoms you are experiencing, we can determine which tests to run to make a definitive diagnosis. From there, we can create your treatment plan. Sometimes it’s as simple as removing impacted earwax, while other cases of tinnitus may require counseling, sound therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
When it comes to ringing in the ears, it’s best to play it safe and turn to our team of ENTs to find out what’s causing it and how to treat it best. Don’t ignore tinnitus. Call ENT Associates at (760) 724-8749 to book your next appointment.