Tinnitus is an abnormal perception of sound in the absence of an external sound source. If you have heard the term hearing loss, it is most likely that you would have come across the term tinnitus as well. Tinnitus is not a disease but is more of a warning sign of an underlying condition. Most of them will perceive it as a ringing or a buzzing sound and sometimes it can be annoying.

Tinnitus is usually caused by a lot of different factors, and it can even be a combination of more than one reason. It has been theorized that tinnitus usually occurs as a compensatory mechanism within the brain to address the reduced sound input because of hearing loss at the lower sensory structures.

Let us look at some of the factors that can get an individual at risk of developing tinnitus.

  • Medical conditions
    Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, anaemia, and excessive earwax are all risk factors for developing tinnitus. So, any individual who is overweight, or lacks iron in their blood is at a higher risk of developing tinnitus.
  • Hearing issues
    Tinnitus itself is a hearing issue and hence can come hand in hand with other problems related to hearing such as overexposure to noise, Meniere’s disease, Age-related hearing loss, etc. So, if you are experiencing such hearing problems, then you are at risk of developing tinnitus.
  • Head Injuries
    A severe blow to the head, accidents, falls that affect your sides of the brain, and blood loss can result in the perception of tinnitus. In case an individual has a growing tumour within the brain that causes congestion of the hearing system, tinnitus will occur as a symptom.
  • Blood vessel issues
    An individual who has blood clotting or any other issue concerning blood circulation will hear sounds of blood rushing in the ear as tinnitus. They are usually pulsatile and sometimes even change with changing head positions.
  • Environmental Factors
    Being exposed to loud music at clubs and pubs, excessive use of headphones or earphones, exposure to construction noise, heavy traffic noise, firearms and fireworks affect your hearing system and tinnitus can occur as a consequence.

In addition to these, ageing individuals also tend to experience tinnitus. Being on medications for certain diseases such as cancer, malaria, tuberculosis, or even long-term medications for diabetes and blood pressure can be a cause of tinnitus as well.

In most cases, tinnitus occurs with hearing loss and keeping hearing safe will prevent tinnitus to a certain limit. Hence, one must maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep tinnitus out of the picture.