Learn about what can cause your ears to ring and what to do about it

Tinnitus is very common so doctors are frequently asked "is there a cure for tinnitus?" An estimated 50 million adults in the U.S are affected by it every year.

For most people, the condition is merely an annoyance, but after prolonged bouts of time it can drive patients mad wondering why is there ringing in my ear?!

In severe cases, tinnitus can cause people to have difficulty concentrating and sleeping. It may eventually interfere with work and personal relationships, resulting in psychological distress.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus, or ringing in ears, is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. The noise can be intermittent or continuous, and can vary in loudness. It is often worse when background noise is low, so you may be most aware of it at night when you're trying to fall asleep in a quiet room. In rare cases, the sound beats in sync with your heart (pulsatile tinnitus).

Why is there ringing in my ear? Causes of tinnitus

Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is the most common cause of tinnitus. Up to 90% of people with tinnitus have some level of noise-induced hearing loss. The noise causes permanent damage to the sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea, a spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear. Anyone who works in noisy environments or engages in activities that require hearing protection is potentially at risk for getting tinnitus. A single exposure to a sudden extremely loud noise can also cause tinnitus.

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

It depends on what's to blame for the ringing. If a medication is the trigger, your doctor might suggest that you stop taking it or change to a different drug. If a health issue like high blood pressure is the cause, your doctor can work with you to treat it. Often, the ringing will improve when you get the condition under control.

If the problem is too much earwax, you can use a digital otoscope to self-diagnose and usually to self-treat an earwax blockage, but extreme earwax impactions may require a visit to the doctor. Sometimes tinnitus takes many months to subside and some people suffer from it for years so it isn’t always curable.

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