Ringing in the Ears
Alternate Names : Tinnitus
Ringing in the ears refers to a sound that usually only the affected person can
hear. The sound is not coming from the environment. Instead it seems to be
coming from the person's body or from the ear itself. Other noises, such as buzzing
or roaring, may also be heard.
What is going on in the body?
Ringing in the ears is a common problem, especially in elderly individuals. The
ringing or other sound may be constant, or it may come and go. Usually, the ringing is not
caused by serious problems. Most of the time, it does not interfere
with activities. In rare cases, ringing in the ears can be a sign of a serious
What are the causes and risks of the symptom?
Ringing or other noises heard in the ears can have many causes, including:
abnormal blood flow around the ear, due to a cerebral
aneurysm or malformed blood vessel in the brain
hearing loss, with up to 25% of people over the age of 60 experiencing occasional high-pitched
ringing in their ears
anxiety or depression
damage to the ear from
chronic exposure, such as damage from working near loud machines daily, which leads to occupational hearing loss
damage to the ear from noise that occurs suddenly, for example, an explosion
damage to the hearing area of the brain, caused by a stroke,
multiple sclerosis, or other conditions
damage to the hearing nerves, as a result of trauma, a brain tumor, or other conditions
ear wax build-up
infections in the ear, such as chronic otitis media or
medications, such as aspirin, the heart medicine known as quinidine, and
carbamazepine, a medication used to treat seizures
Meniere's disease, a condition that also causes severe vertigo, or a
otosclerosis, a condition in which the tiny hearing bones in the
inner ear cannot move properly
There are other possible causes of ringing in the ears. Sometimes the cause
cannot be found.