Tinnitus, the perception of a non-existent sound, has long been associated with hearing loss. In fact, the majority of individuals suffering from tinnitus do have some degree of hearing loss. One theory is that, as you lose your ability to hear different frequencies, the brain may be attempting to adapt to the loss of hair cells by increasing sound sensitivity or creating phantom sounds. Others suggest the sound is similar to chronic pain syndrome, where the sensation of pain occurs after the damage has healed. However, there are cases of tinnitus where the underlying cause is not hearing loss.
- 1. Medications. Many prescription and over-the-counter medicines are thought to cause tinnitus. These include antidepressants, ibuprofen, aspirin and blood pressure medications. If you need to take medications on a frequent basis, check with your doctor to see if tinnitus may be one of the side effects. Your health professional may be able to recommend a better option.
- 2. Excessive earwax. A buildup of earwax can result in pressure being applied to the inner ear. This may change the way your eardrum vibrates, resulting in symptoms of tinnitus. This can generally be treated by the removal of the wax.
- 3. Anemia or high blood pressure. Anemia is a condition that results in thinner blood. Occasionally, thin blood can move so quickly through the body, it can produce sound in the inner ears. Though rare, high blood pressure (hypertension) can result in a pulsating sound in the ears. This is due to the increased pressure of the blood vessels in the auditory system.
- 4. Thyroid imbalances. The thyroid regulates the production of T3 and T4 hormones. When a thyroid malfunctions, it may over or under produce these hormones, resulting in symptoms of tinnitus. Hyperthyroidism, over-production, results in a racing heart and can cause a constant pulsating sound in the ears. Hypothyroidism, under-production, can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
If you are experiencing tinnitus, make an appointment with a local American or Spanish Fork audiology professional. As a hearing health expert, they will diagnose the underlying cause of your tinnitus and determine what tinnitus management program would work best for you. To learn more about tinnitus treatment options, call our office at 801-763-0724!