March 25, 2021 3:32 pm
It can happen out of nowhere. One minute you’re having a conversation or watching TV, and the next you suddenly have a ringing sound in your ear that just won’t go away. Why is this happening, and should you be concerned?
Why Do I Have Ringing in My Ears?
A constant ringing in your ears is not a sign of a serious health condition—and that’s good news. The bad news is that it can sometimes last for long periods, from days to months or longer, and it can be quite disruptive. In some cases, it can affect your quality of life.
Anytime you experience a sound in your head that does not have an outside source, the condition is called tinnitus. For most people, tinnitus occurs as a ringing sound, but it can also be chirping, humming, whistling or roaring. Pulsing in the ear, usually in time with your heartbeat, is called pulsatile tinnitus and is a less common form of tinnitus.
What Causes Tinnitus?
It’s important to note that tinnitus in and of itself is not a disease. Rather, it is a condition that signals a problem somewhere in your body, usually the auditory system, which includes the ear, the nerve attached to the inner ear and the part of the brain that processes sound. Temporary tinnitus is often caused by exposure to loud noises, such as a noisy rock concert. Similarly, workers who are continually exposed to loud noises, such as construction workers, can develop tinnitus over time. Other possible causes of tinnitus include:
- Certain medications
- Impacted earwax
- Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that also causes lightheadedness and hearing loss
- Sinus and ear infections
Rarely, tinnitus is caused by more serious conditions, such as tumors or diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
What Should I Do About My Tinnitus?
While there is no cure for tinnitus, treatment options are available to help people live more comfortably with the condition. If tinnitus lasts for more than a few hours or recurs, contact your primary care provider. He or she will try to uncover the source of the problem and determine whether any additional testing is necessary. You might also discuss treatment options, which include hearing aids, wearable sound generators, medication to help you sleep and counseling to help with anxiety and depression.
Magnolia Regional Health Center has a team of primary care providers who are ready to help diagnose and provide guidance for tinnitus today. Learn more at care.mrhc.org/primary-care.
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center