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June 06, 2019

Ear(s) always ringing? What is tinnitus and how to deal with it

You're not alone: about 50 million Americans experience it

Illness Tinnitus
Ear Pain Tinnitus 06062019 Source/Image licensed by Ingram Image


Do you frequently hear ringing in your ears? You are not alone. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 50 million Americans experience tinnitus, that annoying ringing or static in your ear.

Tinnitus occurs naturally as we age, but it can also be a symptom of an ear injury or an underlying health issue like a tumor or cardiovascular disease.


There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is when only you can hear the noises in your ear; while with objective tinnitus, your doctor will also be able to hear them when he or she examines you.

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Pulsatile tinnitus is an example of subjective tinnitus. Harvard Health reports that “it is a type of rhythmic thumping, throbbing, or whooshing only you can hear that is often in time with the heartbeat.” 

If the tinnitus is affecting your ability to concentrate and hear what is going on around you or you are only experiencing it in one ear, then make an appointment to see your doctor right away. Also get checked out if the tinnitus develops suddenly, and you experience hearing loss and dizziness along with it.


Unfortunately, there is still not a lot of information on the cause of tinnitus. The most common causes include: (Sources include Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Harvard Health, and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.)

• Age-related hearing loss

• Loud noise exposure

• Too much earwax in ears

• Changes to the ear bone

• Blood pressure problems

• Fluid in the eardrum

• Side effects from medication

Less common causes include Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder; temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ; acoustic neuroma; and Eustachian tube dysfunction. Tinnitus has also been linked to certain blood vessel disorders.

Be aware of two risk factors: cardiovascular disease and smoking.

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