Ringing in the Ears – An Overview of Tinnitus

Updated November 1, 2016 – Tinnitus is derived from the Latin word “tinnire” which translate to tinkling or ringing like a bell. Tinnitus is a condition that causes ringing in the ears which can be both dramatic or just a minor annoyance. “Tinnitus is a condition in which a person hears a ringing, buzzing or hissing sound which is caused by the hearing system itself and not by any external sources.” Worldwide, about 10-17 percent of people suffer from Tinnitus. Here in the United States about 44 million people are affected.


The sounds of Tinnitus can be very different for each person. It can be high, low pitched or a pulsation. Only the person affect with Tinnitus can hear the sounds. For this reason, a lot of people who have Tinnitus don’t ever get diagnosed with the condition.


Causes of Tinnitus can be very diverse. The source of Tinnitus can range from ear wax built up, to damage of the ear itself, to health issues (diet) to tumors or cancer. Most commonly, it can be directly related to aging.

Damage to the internal ear can be caused by the use of Q-Tips or similar objects. Damage can also be caused by external noises that have been too loud and have damaged the ear drum itself. There are many social activities that can cause this type of damage: firing guns, extremely loud music at a concert or through using earphones.

Tinnitus can also be related to one’s diet. “Nutrition can also have an incidence on tinnitus, for instance: excessive consumption of caffeine, alcohol, drugs, spicy products, etc.” Research shows that caffeine can be one of the triggers for Tinnitus as well as Nicotine, Aspirin or a diet that is high is salt. These external influences can be linked to restrictive blood flow which can aggravate Tinnitus.

Tinnitus can be one of the symptoms of a more serious condition called Meniere’s Disease. It can also be related to the presence of a tumor in different sections of the ear.

It is very important to consult a doctor to determine the cause of Tinnitus.

The Montreal Tinnitus Clinic. http://www.mytinnitus.ca/tinnitus-definition.html

SCENIHR. “Potential health risks of exposure to noise from personal music players and mobile phones including a music playing function Preliminary report” June 24, 2008.

USAToday. Health Encyclopedia – Diseases and Conditions. Tinnitus. http://www.healthscout.com/ency/68/211/main.html

WebMB. The Ringing and Buzzing of Tinnitus. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ringing-buzzing-tinnitus

Comment 1

  1. chopinlover April 6, 2014