Causes and Diagnoses
Causes and Diagnoses of Tinnitus
In most cases, the cause of tinnitus is damage to the ear and auditory system.
Temporary tinnitus can be caused by blockages in the middle ear, including:
- Congestion due to colds or allergies
- Excessive hair
- Foreign objects
Occasionally these items can damage the eardrum, causing permanent tinnitus.
Tinnitus can also be caused by medications, including certain:
- Quinine drugs
- Chemotherapy drugs
Tinnitus can be a symptom of a number of conditions, including:
- Age or noise-related hearing loss
- Eardrum injury from scuba diving, extreme air sports or explosions
- TMJ syndrome
- Auditory nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Acoustic neuroma
- Meniere disease
- Circulatory system disorder
- Thyroid disorders
- Muscle contractions in the ear canal
The type of sound associated with your tinnitus can help your physician determine its cause. Another technique is to examine how various movements impact the sound you hear.
Diagnostic tests include:
- Hearing test: A traditional hearing test is used to determine if you are experiencing hearing loss.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan: This test combines X-ray and computer technology to produce detailed cross-sectional images.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: This test creates detailed images using a large magnet, a computer and radiofrequencies. Unlike computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans or X-rays, MRI does not use radiation.