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Tinnitus: What You Need To Know

Tinnitus is a common ear problem that affects about 10 percent of adults are affected by tinnitus. It is often described as having a ringing or hearing other noises, even when there is no sound external to the ear. Symptoms of tinnitus may be present in one or both ears.


The two types of tinnitus are subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus. The subjective is when you hear a sound that’s not there, usually due to nerves that don’t function normally or due to something wrong with your ear or a part of your ear. The objective is when you hear a real sound within or near your ear, such as from nearby blood vessels. This is something your doctor will be able to hear during an exam and is a rare type of tinnitus.

Signs & Symptoms 

The main symptom that you will notice is hearing noises even though there aren’t any external sounds around. Ringing is the most common sound, but you can also hear buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing, and humming. Tinnitus can vary on how high or low the pitch is and can be even so loud you have a hard time thinking or hearing other noises. It also differs from how often you have it, as in some cases, someone may have it all the time, while others will experience it come and go.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Several medical conditions can cause tinnitus. Most commonly, tinnitus is caused by age-related hearing loss. Other causes can include exposure to loud noises or work in a loud environment. Other causes of tinnitus include ear infections or buildup of wax in the ear. Occasionally, tinnitus is the result of no apparent cause. 

Most Common Causes Of Tinnitus:

Ear Infection or Blocked Ear Canal: When your ear becomes blocked from the buildup of ear wax, dirt or other foreign materials, which can change the pressure in your ears, leading to tinnitus. When it’s an ear infection, you would have fluid buildup instead.


Hearing Loss: When you start to age or are exposed to loud sounds, the tiny hair cells that are in your inner ear begin to bend or become broken, which can cause random electrical impulses to your brain, which will cause tinnitus.


Medications: Tinnitus may be caused or worsened by some medications that can damage your inner ear. You will experience worse tinnitus if you take a high dose of the medicine. It will usually stop once you stop taking medication. 


Injuries: If an injury happens to your head, neck or ear, it could trigger tinnitus, and an injury would usually only cause one ear to have tinnitus.  

Tinnitus Treatment

Treatment for tinnitus varies widely depending on the cause. While most cases are not severe, it can be an unpleasant experience that interferes with your life. If your tinnitus is interfering with your work, sleep, and quality of life, you should consult with your primary care physician. If necessary, your doctor may refer you to a hearing care professional for further evaluation. If your tinnitus continues to persist, you should visit the local emergency room.

To find out more about the services we provide at Sharpe Hearing Clinic, please call 705-792-9494 or contact us online.

Sharpe Hearing Clinic is registered with the Ministry of Health, Assistive Devices Program.
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