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Physicians and audiologists don’t always know the exact cause of tinnitus. Excessive noise exposure is a common cause. Do you work in a noisy environment, such as a factory or construction site? Or perhaps you listen to loud music constantly or use power tools?
Exposure to loud sounds puts your ears at risk. Whether you’re young or old, it’s a good idea to take steps to protect your ears. To reduce your risk, physically remove yourself from loud sounds, turn down the volume or wear hearing protection.
Lesser-known potential causes of tinnitus include:
1. Ear wax. Something as simple as a buildup of ear wax in your inner ear may cause your ears to ring. Your doctor can remove the wax to eliminate the ringing.
2. Medications. Some medicines may affect your ears. High doses of aspirin, certain antibiotics and antidepressants may cause tinnitus. Chemotherapy drugs also may affect your ears. Check with your primary care physician to determine if any medications you take could be a culprit.
3. Dental issues. Ringing ears sometimes may relate to a non-auditory problem with your jaw or teeth. If you recently had dental work or your jaw is bothering you, you may want to revisit your dentist. Sometimes a nightguard or a dental orthotic device can help with dental issues and stop the annoying sounds you’re hearing.
4. Head injuries. Were you in a motor vehicle accident recently? Or did you bump your head? If so, that ringing you hear may be a symptom of a biomechanical problem of the head, neck, or jaw. If you have concerns after a head injury, seek medical attention.
To help prevent a head injury, wear head protection if you play high-contact sports, such as hockey, or if you work at a high-risk location, such as a construction site, Dr. Newman advises.
5. Diseases. Ringing in your ears is sometimes a symptom of a medical condition, such as Meniere’s disease. This occurs when abnormal fluid pressure builds up in your inner ear. Hypertension and diabetes may cause tinnitus as well. It’s always best to get a medical check-up to find out what’s wrong.
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