Ringing in your ears, often referred to as tinnitus by medical professionals, is a phenomenon whereby people hear sounds that haven’t been created by any external noise. Tinnitus can be unpleasant and has been associated with anxiety, depression and withdrawal from social situations.
Tinnitus is an often-misunderstood condition. While some people experience “ringing” in their ears, the disease can take many other forms, including whistling noises, scratching sounds, and whirring. Tinnitus is associated with aging, but a range of other factors can also cause it. Could that be why you’re experiencing the condition right now? Check out these triggers.
You Have A Sinus Infection
A series of pipes closely connect the ears and the sinuses under the skin. When those pipes become blocked or infected, it can cause problems with the middle ear by increasing pressure. This increased pressure can then create phantom whining and ringing noises.
Sinus infections usually pass in a week or two, and your hearing returns to normal. If your hearing doesn’t get better once the infection subsides, go and see your doctor.
You’ve Been Exposed To Loud Noises
As scientists learn more about tinnitus, they’re discovering that exposure to loud noises is a leading cause. Although most people accept that being exposed to loud noises on a daily basis is bad for your hearing - such as the pneumatic drills used by road workers - there’s less acknowledgement that short, loud sounds can have a detrimental impact too.
Researchers now think that tinnitus can emerge from both short and prolonged exposure to loud noises, which is why it’s important for people to protect their ears whenever possible. Wear earplugs on the job and avoid listening to loud music or spending too much time in busy, city-centre environments.
You Have Too Much Earwax
Earwax buildup is common, especially among people who put things in their ears. Hearing aids, cotton buds, earphones, and earplugs can all provoke the ear canal to secrete more wax, potentially leading to a blockage.
When blockages do occur, they can cause problems. Earwax buildup leads to progressive hearing loss which, in turn, can result in the emergence of tinnitus. To prevent this from happening, you can clear wax out of the ear using over-the-counter solutions. You can also go to a hearing specialist who has special tools to remove the wax for you gently.
You Have Issues With Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the leading cause of death worldwide. It’s usually a silent killer, but tinnitus may be an early warning alarm bell. High blood pressure that results from caffeine, stress and a poor diet plays havoc with the blood vessels around the ear, leading to sounds being detected by the inner ear.
You Experience TMJ
TMJ or temporomandibular joint issues can lead to hearing noises when you shouldn’t, like when you chew. Specialists can help reduce or eliminate these issues, which should alleviate the impact on your middle ear and resolve any TMJ-induced ringing noises.
If you experience any of these issues, don’t suffer in silence. Speak to a professional.