Tinnitus is the medical term for buzzing or ringing noises inside the ear. Although you may perceive these sounds, which may also manifest in the form of hissing, roaring or whistling in your ear, they are not produced by any external source. Tinnitus can be frustrating, and it can interfere with your day-to-day activities. 

One of the most common causes of tinnitus is damage to your middle or inner ear. Your center ear is liable for getting sound waves and directing them to your internal ear to send electrical impulses to your brain. Your brain at that point acknowledges these signs and makes an interpretation of them into sounds to finish the hearing interaction. If you sustain damage in your inner ear, the way your brain should process sound will be altered. 

Causes of Tinnitus

Harm to the little bones in your center ear or eardrums can likewise interfere with the appropriate conduction of sound to your brain. Ringing in the ears may also arise due to a tumor in the ears or the auditory nerve. 

Tinnitus can occur due to exposure to very loud sounds regularly for some people. Therefore, you are likely to develop tinnitus if you use chainsaws, jackhammers or any other forms of heavy equipment that produce loud noises. Listening to loud music at a concert or through headphones may also cause tinnitus. 

The use of certain medications can lead to hearing damage and tinnitus in some people. Forms of medication that may cause tinnitus include; 

  • Some anticancer drugs such as vincristine
  • Large doses of aspirin, such as 12 doses or more a day for prolonged periods
  • Some antibiotics like gentamicin and erythromycin 
  • Antimalarial drugs like chloroquine

Other medical conditions that can lead to tinnitus include

  • Ear canal blockage or ear infection. A build-up of fluid, dirt, earwax and other foreign materials can cause your ear canals to become blocked. This blockage can lead to a change of pressure in your ear, causing tinnitus. 
  • Head or neck injuries. Trauma to your neck or head can affect the inner ear, the brain function linked to hearing or your hearing nerves. It can then lead to tinnitus in only one ear. 

In addition to the above physical and medical factors, there are some other less common causes of tinnitus, such as conditions that affect the nerves, chronic health conditions and injuries. They include the following;

  • Ear bone changes. The bones in your middle ear may stiffen, causing tinnitus or hearing loss. In most cases, this condition is caused by abnormal bone growth, which can be inherited. 
  • Blood vessel disorder. Conditions that interfere with your blood vessels, such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis can cause blood to move through your arteries and veins with more force. This leads to a change in blood flow which can either cause tinnitus or make it more noticeable. 
  • Muscle spasms in the inner ear. Your inner ear muscles can tense up or spasm, leading to feelings of fullness in the ear, hearing loss or tinnitus. The main reasons why muscle spasms occur isn't clearly defined, but it can be due to neurologic diseases such as multiple sclerosis. 
  • Other chronic conditions such as anemia, diabetes or migraines

A variety of factors can cause tinnitus. If you suspect that you have tinnitus, it is advisable to visit an audiologist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.