Ringing in the ears is known as tinnitus. It can be quite annoying and can disrupt one’s life. Fortunately, many causes are reversible. Some of the common causes of tinnitus include the following:
- Anti-inflammatory Medications: Aspirin products, as well as other anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen), are a common cause and should be avoided.
- Blood pressure and/or Diabetes: Symptoms can be decreased once blood pressure abnormalities are corrected and diabetes is treated. For further reading on strategies to decrease blood pressure, click here to view our article, Six Lifestyle Changes To Help Reduce Blood Pressure.
- Caffeine: Eliminating caffeine, alcohol and tobacco as well as lowering stress can also be helpful.
- Allergies and Ear/Sinus Infections: Ear infection, allergies and sinus infection occasionally cause tinnitus, and appropriate treatment for these conditions often cures the problem.
The most common cause of tinnitus, however, is noise exposure, either over time, or a sudden, recent, loud report. As we get older, ringing becomes more common, probably from the cumulative effect of exposure to noise over time. An audiogram, or hearing test, is an important test to evaluate tinnitus, with or without noticeable hearing loss. Sometimes a physician will order an MRI or CT scan of the head, especially if there has been head trauma or there is concern about a tumor as the cause.
Hearing aids and masking devices that interfere with detecting tinnitus are often prescribed with success. A good rule of thumb is to always wear adequate hearing protection when around loud noises. This will decrease the chance of developing tinnitus over time.
If you are experiencing persistent tinnitus, you may want to schedule an appointment with your physician for evaluation.
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