Many different conditions can affect your hearing. One of them is tinnitus, which causes you to hear sounds, tones, or noises that are not produced by things in your environment.
If you have tinnitus, you're not alone. Tinnitus affects approximately 10 million Americans, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
Tinnitus may seem like a mysterious condition, because it causes you to hear things that others can't. In fact, we know more about tinnitus than you may realize, including its many causes.
At Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, Dr. Kevin Sharim and his team of audiologists and hearing experts specialize in helping people with a full range of conditions, including tinnitus. We take pride in educating our tinnitus patients about their condition and creating individualized treatment plans that can help them deal with their tinnitus.
Read on to learn about some common causes of tinnitus, as well as its treatment options.
Cause #1: Loud noise
Loud noises can cause damage to the structure of the ear. This damage can lead to noise-induced hearing loss and, as a result, tinnitus. Often, tinnitus is one of the first signs of noise-related hearing loss.
Cause #2: Certain medications
More than 200 medications can play a role in causing or worsening tinnitus, according to the NIDCD. Drug-associated tinnitus is especially likely to occur when you begin taking these medicines, increase or decrease your dose, or stop taking them.
Some of the over-the-counter and prescription medications that can cause tinnitus include certain types of :
- Antimalarial drugs
- Anxiety drugs
- Cancer drugs
- Cardiovascular drugs, such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitiors, and diuretics
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Prescription acne medications, such as those that contain isotretinoin
Cause #3: Ménière’s disease
Ménière’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that occurs as the result of a buildup of fluid deep within the ear canal, in an area known as the labyrinth. In addition to tinnitus, Ménière’s disease can cause hearing problems, dizziness, ear congestion, and falls.
Cause #4: Head injuries
Car accidents, falls, physical abuse, sports injuries, and other forceful situations that affect the head or neck can trigger tinnitus. Even minor injuries, such as falls, can set off symptoms. Be sure to receive proper care after any type of accident or injury.
Cause #5: Cardiovascular conditions
High blood pressure, low blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and problems with blood vessels may all cause or contribute to tinnitus. If you develop tinnitus and you have a history or symptoms of heart problems, Dr. Sharim may recommend that you see a cardiologist. Keep in mind that various heart and blood vessel medications may also cause tinnitus.
Cause #6: TMJ
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can have an impact that goes beyond the jaw. They can also affect your face, neck, and ears, as well as your hearing. When tinnitus is linked to TMJ, you may benefit from receiving treatment from a dentist as well as a hearing specialist.
These are just a few of the most common causes of tinnitus. Other possible contributors to tinnitus symptoms may include hormone disorders, thyroid conditions, autoimmune disorders, infections, and cancerous growths. Smoking and alcohol overuse may worsen tinnitus.
Because tinnitus can have such a wide range of causes, it is important to have a careful evaluation if you experience symptoms.
Treatment options for tinnitus
No matter what may have caused your tinnitus, we can help you manage it and reduce its impact on your quality of life.
In some cases, Dr. Sharim can clear up tinnitus with a simple fix, such as removing excess wax from your ears or working with your other providers to adjust your medications. (Reminder: Don't stop taking any medicines without your doctor's guidance.)
If those fixes don't apply to your situation, treatment options depend on several factors, such as the cause of your tinnitus, the effect it is having on your daily life, and any other hearing-related or neurological conditions you may have. Treatment may include medication or hearing aids.
You may also benefit from using a specialized hearing aid designed specifically for people with tinnitus. This device, which is known as a tinnitus masker, generates a low-level white noise that helps to distract you from your tinnitus.
Schedule your hearing evaluation today
Don't wait any longer to have tinnitus or any other type of hearing condition checked out by our caring providers. Our offices are conveniently located in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, and Santa Monica, California. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sharim and our team at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, contact one of our offices today.