Woman holding her ears after asking "why are my ears ringing?"

Why Are My Ears Ringing?

September 20, 2021

The term tinnitus sounds like something that might have come from an old mythological fable, but it is a very real symptom that 1 in 10 Americans experience. Tinnitus is often the answer to the question “Why are my ears ringing?” as it is characterized by ringing or buzzing in the ears. It is a subjective symptom, meaning that you can hear it, but the people around you can’t. No one person’s tinnitus is the same, so your tinnitus could sound like a high-pitched tone, buzzing, roaring, or whirring sound – or even perhaps like something else.

What Causes Ringing in Your Ears?

Although we hear tinnitus in our ears, tinnitus is usually produced from a breakdown in the auditory neural pathways. The number one cause of tinnitus is noise-induced hearing loss. Other conditions that could be associated with tinnitus include:

  • Ear and sinus infections
  • Wax or foreign body obstructions in the ear canal
  • Hormonal changes
  • Ménière’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Conditions affecting brain structures

Of all risk factors, aging, loud noise exposure, and certain lifestyle habits are strongly linked to tinnitus. Tinnitus is often the first sign of hearing loss, particularly in the older adult population. Due to its strong link to hearing loss, tinnitus is often symptomatically treated with hearing aids. Many hearing aids have specialized tinnitus masking technology, which “distracts” the individual from the tinnitus that they hear, making it more comfortable and improving their quality of life.

What Can I Do About the Ringing In My Ears?

Getting an answer to “Why are my ears ringing?” is a good start, but is there a way to alleviate it, or better yet, get rid of it entirely? While there are steps you can take to manage tinnitus that can reduce your symptoms, there is no permanent cure. If you are experiencing regular tinnitus along with some of the other symptoms, we recommend that you visit a medical doctor for a full examination so that any underlying medical condition may be ruled out. If tinnitus is associated with a medical condition, medical treatment of the underlying condition may lessen or eliminate the tinnitus.

Treating the Ringing In Your Ears with Hearing Aids

For those with hearing loss, ringing in the ears may be louder than those without, as external sounds are quieter. If you suffer from both hearing loss and tinnitus, a hearing aid could provide relief for your symptoms. By increasing your ability to hear the sounds around you, the ringing in your ears won’t be as isolated and easy to notice. However, it is best to consult with an audiologist or other medical professional to find the best treatment for your specific situation.

To learn more about tinnitus and other hearing-related topics, explore our hearing library. For more information on Lexie and how we can help with your hearing loss, visit our website or contact us today.

Image of post writer Marcellé Swanepoel.

Written by Marcellé Swanepoel

B. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

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