Tinnitus is a ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, humming or buzzing sound in the ears with no external source. According to the American Tinnitus Association, “Approximately 10 percent of the U.S. adult population — over 25 million Americans — experience some form of tinnitus. Roughly 5 million people struggle with burdensome chronic tinnitus, while 2 million find it debilitating.”
Unfortunately, there is no cure for most cases of tinnitus, unless the underlying cause can be identified and addressed. Below we review some of the more unusual causes of tinnitus.
Earwax is a substance that the ear canal produces in order to lubricate the skin and trap dirt, bacteria and other debris. While a healthy amount of earwax is good for the ears, it can build up in the ear and become impacted if you overproduce it. Impacted earwax is a common cause of tinnitus. Fortunately, it can be easily removed by an expert at Ear Specialists of Omaha & Bellevue.
Medications that cause hearing problems such as tinnitus are said to be ototoxic. There are more than 200 prescription and over-the-counter medicines found at Elmwood Pharmacy that are known to be ototoxic. While some medications, like certain chemotherapy drugs, may be essential to take, others, like aspirin, can usually be avoided. Talk to your doctor about alternative medications if yours are causing tinnitus.
It may be the case that your tinnitus isn’t caused by problems with the auditory system, but rather with your jaw or teeth. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder causes noises like popping or clicking. If you’re suffering from TMJ disorder, it’s important to see a dentist to be fitted with a night guard to prevent further problems.
If you’ve recently hit your head or been in a car accident, you may start to hear phantom sounds. This may be due to a biomechanical problem of the head, neck or jaw. See a doctor immediately if you experience tinnitus following a head injury. To prevent this cause of tinnitus, always wear head protection when playing contact sports or working in high-risk environments.
For more information on tinnitus management or to schedule an appointment, call Ear Specialists of Omaha & Bellevue today.