6 Factors That Fuel Tinnitus Symptoms

Did you know that over 50 million Americans live with tinnitus? And for nearly 20 million of them, their symptoms don’t go away.

This condition means a person hears sounds that others do not, such as:

And, sometimes, it doesn’t involve a sound at all. Instead, a person feels a pulsing sensation in the ear.

The Sharp Hearing Care Professionals team understands the challenges that come with tinnitus. That’s why we take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating your condition at our four California locations.

If you have tinnitus, here are six things that can fuel your symptoms.

1. Wax buildup or congestion

Could you have earwax buildup? Or perhaps a severe cold, flu, or sinus infection? Whether you have blockages in your ears or your sinuses, they can cause pressure or inflame nerves that trigger buzzing or ringing sensations. 

Fortunately, removing the blockage or congestion often makes tinnitus symptoms disappear.

2. An inner ear disorder

Your inner ear has two important jobs. Its most obvious task involves helping you hear. However, it also monitors your movements so you can keep your balance.

When problems arise in this part of the ear, they can trigger symptoms associated with your hearing and balance, including tinnitus and vertigo. For instance, Ménière’s disease — an inner ear disorder — causes a fluid imbalance that can trigger tinnitus symptoms.

3. Aging

Up to 20% of people experience tinnitus, especially older adults. Tinnitus becomes increasingly common with age and can strike as early as your 40s. In many cases, it also goes hand-in-hand with age-related hearing loss.

Both of these auditory issues have direct links to long-term noise exposure.

4. Loud noises

How often are you in noisy environments? Whether sound levels simply feel annoying or reach harmful decibels, they could be the root of your problem.

Exposure to loud noises can damage delicate hairs within the inner ear, causing them to wear out over time. The result? Hearing loss and a high-pitched buzzing as sound runs past the damaged hair cells.

People in industries with a lot of noise pollution are especially vulnerable to noise-related tinnitus. These include factory workers, road crews, construction workers, service members, hunters, and people in the entertainment industry.

5. Stress

It’s impossible to avoid stress entirely. However, constant stress or anxiety can take a toll on your body — and that includes your ears.

Each time you experience stress, your system releases a surge of hormones in an effort to protect you. When this becomes chronic, it makes it harder for your body to resume normal hormone levels. That makes it more difficult for other bodily systems to function properly.

Studies show that up to 45% of people with chronic tinnitus also have anxiety. And it’s common for these symptoms to worsen in times of stress.

In addition to stress, lack of sleep can also exacerbate tinnitus symptoms — and lack of sleep puts stress on the body.

6. Certain medications and medical conditions

Finally, if you have tinnitus, it’s essential to look at your overall health. 

Several medications and medical conditions can affect your ears, including: 

In fact, even seemingly harmless things can trigger tinnitus, like too much caffeine, sodium, nicotine, and alcohol.

Managing tinnitus

With so many factors that come into play with tinnitus, it’s crucial to work with experts who understand this unique auditory condition. Our audiologists at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals can help develop a comprehensive strategy to help you find relief, even in the most severe cases. And it all starts with an audiology consultation.

Do you have tinnitus? Contact Sharp Hearing Care Professionals to schedule a hearing evaluation at one of our convenient locations in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, or Tarzana, California, today.

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