There are many potential causes of tinnitus, including:
- Hearing loss: One of the most common causes of tinnitus is damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, which can occur as a result of aging, exposure to loud noise, or certain medications.
- Exposure to loud noise: Loud noise can damage the hair cells in the inner ear and lead to tinnitus. This can occur as a result of recreational activities such as attending concerts or shooting guns, as well as occupational exposures to loud machinery or equipment.
- Certain medications: Some medications, such as aspirin, antibiotics, and certain antidepressants, can cause tinnitus as a side effect.
- Head or neck injuries: Trauma to the head or neck can damage the auditory system and lead to tinnitus.
- Ear infections: Infections of the ear, such as swimmer’s ear or chronic middle ear infections, can cause tinnitus.
- Cardiovascular disease: Tinnitus can be a symptom of underlying cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure or arteriosclerosis.
- Meniere’s disease: This inner ear disorder can cause tinnitus, as well as vertigo and hearing loss.
In some cases, the exact cause of tinnitus is unknown.