Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

What Is Causing My Tinnitus?

Tuesday, 29 June 2010 10:41 AM

Question: I have had a ringing in my ears for almost as far back as I can remember. What is this and can it be cured?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

It generally is advisable to have your tinnitus (perception of sound without external stimulation) professionally evaluated especially when it is present for more than several weeks.

Accurate diagnosis usually requires referral to a otolaryngologist (ENT specialist) for specialized testing.

Some conditions left unchecked can be very dangerous when not treated early: vascular malformations, aneurisms, arterial bruits, and acoustic neuromas (tumor of the auditory nerve) are to be excluded.

The exact mechanism of tinnitus is unknown, but subjective tinnitus is felt to be due to damage to cochlear cells in the inner ear through drug exposure (aspirin, some antibiotics, and non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications), excessive noise exposure, infections, Ménière's disease, hypertension (intracranial or systemic), TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, stress, depression, sleep deprivation, head trauma, and hearing losses both conductive and sensorineural.

Antidepressants are often the only drugs found useful in improving tinnitus for which no cause can be found.

© HealthDay

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