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Hearing Care Help & Advice

What Causes Tinnitus


As tinnitus isn’t an illness – it’s a non-specific symptom, there’s a wide range of factors that can trigger it:

  • A bad cold or the ears being blocked with wax can cause temporary tinnitus.
  • Exposure to loud sounds – like music concerts, listening to headphones at dangerously high levels for a long time or working in a noisy environment.
  • Age-related hearing loss – as we get older, and begin to lose our hearing, we’re particularly prone to getting tinnitus.
  • Head or ear injury, ear infection – including things like head trauma, whiplash and discomfort from ear syringing.
  • Emotional stress – changes in your stress levels e.g. retirement, redundancy, or bereavement, depression, anxiety
  • Changes in your general health – including sinus congestion, cardio vascular problems, diabetes, thyroid conditions, migraines, fibromyalgia and vertigo.
  • Your medication – high-dose aspirin, certain chemotherapy and antiviral drugs, loop diuretics, chloroquine for malaria, and some antidepressants.

Most tinnitus is caused by a problem with the cochlea hair cells and nerves attached to the inner ear, when the perception of what should normally be a quiet sound in the ear is exaggerated and becomes predominant.