Many often wonder exactly what causes tinnitus. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is often caused by inner ear cell damage. This damage results in the release of electrical signals to your brain and the resultant ringing or humming sounds. Tinnitus can develop or be exacerbated by many factors, including:

Loud Noise

Extended exposure to noise via power equipment, heavy machinery, firearms, and loud music is linked to cell damage and tinnitus.

Atherosclerosis & High Blood Pressure

A fatty buildup in arteries can lead to a loss of elasticity in the inner ear blood vessels. In these cases, blood flow through these vessels may be more forceful, damaging, and detected in the ear. Additionally, high blood pressure can exaggerate existing tinnitus symptoms.


Research indicates that some medications can lead to or exacerbate tinnitus. Antibiotics containing erythromycin, neomycin, polymyxin B, and vancomycin all should be taken with care and with a consultation of your physician. Additionally, even aspirin, in high dosages, has been linked to tinnitus.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders

Persons who grind their teeth or clench their jaw risk tinnitus.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear. While scientists do not know the cause of this disorder, one symptom is tinnitus brought on by abnormal inner ear pressure.

Ear Wax

Sometimes as seemingly minor as ear wax can bring on tinnitus when untreated. Excessive ear wax collects, hardens, and then irritates the eardrum.

Tinnitus is a widespread ear condition. The key to prevention and treatment is early identification of the underlying health condition. The earlier tinnitus is diagnosed, the better chance of controlling it and limiting how tinnitus affects daily life. Medical professionals should be consulted immediately anytime you begin to experience ringing in the ears. Tinnitus causes a wide range of issues that can impact the life of the one with tinnitus (see tinnitus and emotions). Don’t let tinnitus control you and approach the issue with all the care that is required.

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