Tinnitus causes

What causes tinnitus?

Most of the time, tinnitus is a symptom of a larger hearing health condition. Hearing loss changes how the brain processes sound, and tinnitus may be how the brain fills in the gaps to the missing sound frequencies. The most common symptom of tinnitus is a constant, high-pitched ringing in the ears. Although the noise may also present itself as a buzzing in the ears, a whooshing sound, cicada-like noises or waves.

Tinnitus can be caused by:

  • Exposure to excessive loud noise
  • Extreme stress or trauma
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Some prescription and non-prescription medication
  • A change to the health or condition of your ear

Risk factors:

  • Working conditions which expose you to prolonged periods of noise e.g. working with heavy machinery and power tools, may cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • Increasing age, resulting in previously established, age-related hearing loss issues or other forms of hearing loss will increase your chances of tinnitus symptoms.
  • Listening to loud music with headphones and attending concerts frequently contribute to your probability of developing tinnitus.
A family moment around a table talking and listening to each other

What you may experience with tinnitus

You may notice it after being exposed to loud music at a concert, or you may find it is more constant and affects your day-to-day quality of life. Whatever the severity, it can sound like a high-pitched whistling, buzzing, ringing, humming or 'roaring ocean' sound in one or both ears.

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