Ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, may not seem like a big deal. But for many, it’s an annoying condition that can drive you to distraction and affect your life. Thankfully, there are several ways to relieve the problem.
It’s also a common complaint. Nearly 50 million Americans report some type of tinnitus, according to audiologist Craig Newman, PhD, Vice Chair and Section Head of Cleveland Clinic’s Allied Hearing, Speech and Balance Services. For about 42 million people, the problem is bothersome and/or chronic.
“They have problems, such as sleep disturbance, and they may experience anxiety or depression,” he says. “Many also have concentration difficulties.”
Causes of tinnitus
Physicians and audiologists don’t always know the exact cause of tinnitus. Excessive noise exposure is a common cause. Do you work in a noisy environment, such as a factory or construction site? Or perhaps you listen to loud music constantly or use power tools? Exposure to loud sounds puts your ears at risk.
Whether you’re young or old, it’s a good idea to take steps to protect your ears. To reduce your risk, physically remove yourself from loud sounds, turn down the volume or wear hearing protection.
Lesser known potential causes of tinnitus include:
1. Ear wax. Something as simple as a buildup of ear wax in your inner ear may cause your ears to ring. Your doctor can remove the wax to eliminate the ringing.