Have you ever heard a neighbor’s car alarm going off for hours on end? That’s kind of what it’s like to live with tinnitus. The only difference is that your neighbor can’t turn off the noise. Tinnitus doesn’t end until you find a treatment that works. The best way to find a treatment that works is to figure out what’s the initial cause of your tinnitus.
Explore some of the top causes of ringing in the ears below.
Age-Related Hearing Loss
One of the top causes of tinnitus is age-related hearing loss. As you age, hearing loss is common. Nearly one in three adults age 65 and over has some level of hearing loss. Since the change is usually gradual, most adults don’t even realize they’ve lost some of their hearing ability. Most age-related hearing loss affects high-pitched noises such as a beeping microwave or a ringing phone.
The most common symptoms of age-related hearing loss include tinnitus, difficulty hearing women’s voices, some sounds feel louder and more annoying, difficulty listening to conversations when there is background noise, and hard to distinguish high-pitched sounds.
If you suffer from age-related hearing loss, wearing a hearing aid can help bring relief from tinnitus and other symptoms.
If you hear a loud noise either every day in your life or a significantly loud noise at one time (like a concert), it can affect both ears by causing hearing loss and pain. The damage may cause temporary hearing loss, pain, and tinnitus. For serious damage though, the symptoms will persist for the rest of your life.
Too Much Earwax
If earwax piles up in your ears, it can cause hearing loss as well as ringing in the ears. Your body produces earwax to trap dirt and to protect your ears from debris. Usually, the body will wash away earwax before it can pile up. It’s important to not use a cotton swab to clean your ears because it can push the ear wax back further into your ear canal. Instead, try using ear drops meant to break up ear wax or visit your doctor to have it removed. After removing the buildup, the tinnitus and hearing loss should go away.
Medications don’t come without side effects. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs such as diuretics, aspirin, NSAIDs, antibiotics, cancer drugs, and quinine-based medication can all cause ringing in the ear as a side effect. Stopping the drug may get rid of tinnitus. If you suspect one of your medications is causing ringing in your ears, talk to your doctor before you stop taking it.
Ear and Sinus Infections
Another possible cause of ringing in the ears is an ear or sinus infection. When you have a sinus or ear infection, it increases pressure in the sinuses which can obstruct your hearing and cause ringing in the ears. If you’re experiencing pain lasting longer than a week, or snot that’s yellow or green in color, visit a doctor for treatment.
Blood Pressure Issues
Blood pressure changes can also cause ringing in the ears. Certain factors can raise your blood pressure including alcohol, caffeine, and stress. As your blood pressure rises, it causes the arteries to harden and become less stretchy. The arteries in the middle and inner ear then have a stronger and louder blood flow which can contribute to ringing in the ears. Getting your blood pressure under control can help get rid of tinnitus.
Getting a head injury can also cause ringing in the ears. Head trauma can cause tinnitus that may last for up to four to 12 weeks. It will decrease over time and eventually go away as your body heals.
The last most common cause of tinnitus is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMJ disorder occurs when there is an imbalance in the jaw joints. The jaw joints share some of the same ligaments and nerves as the middle ear. When there is an imbalance, it can cause pain and disturb all surrounding ligaments, muscles, and nerves connected to the jaw joints. Ringing in the ear and ear pain are some of the common symptoms of TMJ disorders. People with a TMJ disorder also often experience jaw pain, frequent headaches, worn teeth, and many other symptoms.
The best way to get rid of ringing in your ears from TMD is with TMJ treatment. At TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado, we can provide you with comprehensive TMJ treatment using a neuromuscular approach. We will correct the imbalance in the jaw joints to bring you long-lasting relief.
How Can I Stop the Ringing in My Ears?
If you want to learn how to stop your ears from ringing, the best place to start is finding the cause of your ringing ears. If you suspect it’s TMD, please contact our dental office in Denver for a diagnosis and customized treatment plan. Call us at (303) 691-0267 to book an appointment today.