Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus symptoms (often buzzing or ringing in the ears) can be caused by any of the following:
- Exposure to loud noise
- A side effect of medication ( ototoxic drugs )
- Ear or head injuries
- Presbycusis (hearing loss from aging)
- Diseases of the ear
- Ear infections
- Emotional stress
The physical cause of tinnitus typically involves damaging the tiny hairs located in the inner ear that sense sound waves. When stimulated, the hairs translate sound waves into signals that the nerves then transmit to the brain for deciphering into our perception of sound.
Although people with tinnitus often have an associated loss of hearing, the
presence of tinnitus does not automatically mean hearing loss has occurred.
The first minutes of this video explains the mechanism our brain uses to create tinnitus.
Why Tinnitus Doesn’t Go Away
As in the video, the portion of the human brain that deciphers the signals from our ears (Auditory Cortex) is expecting to always be processing sounds from our surroundings.
The auditory cortex fires it’s nerves spontaneously compensating for a lack of sounds to process due to partial hearing loss.
The Auditory Cortex is made up of sub sections that are tuned to a small slices of the total frequency range we hear. Once there is hearing loss due to damage in the inner ear, a slice of the Auditory Cortex is no longer busy decoding nerve signals from the ears. To compensate for a lack of input, the auditory cortex begins to fire it’s nerves spontaneously and begins to synchronize itself with another sub section of the Auditory Cortex. Now the tinnitus sufferer begins to “hear” phantom noises.
As time goes on the pattern strengthens allowing the sounds we call tinnitus to become permanently embedded in our consciousness.
Tinnitus Is Treatable
Although there is no known cure, tinnitus is treatable. We strongly recommend that anyone with tinnitus in Winnipeg consult a hearing professional experienced in tinnitus treatment for a thorough hearing test and assessment.
For more information on tinnitus, click the links below or for immediate help please call us at (204) 788-1083.
More on Tinnitus:
What is Tinnitus?
What Causes Tinnitus?