There are a large variety of tinnitus causes and some could be less serious than others; however, knowing the cause of your tinnitus can help you understand why it’s happening and why it’s important to receive a treatment you may need.

Below is a list of tinnitus causes and how they play a part in its development:

  • Head and Neck Injury – An injury to the head or neck is one of the tinnitus causes. These injuries can cause problems with your nerves, blood flow and surrounding muscles which can lead to tinnitus and often be accompanied with headaches and memory issues. It is important to see a doctor after experiencing a head or neck injury as those who suffer from an injury to the head or neck may begin to have severe tinnitus. When dealing with severe tinnitus, the sufferer can have trouble relaxing, thinking clearly, remembering, and sleeping.
  • Ear and Sinus Infections – A middle ear problem, such as ear infections, is a tinnitus cause as it is a disruption. Ear infections are typically bacterial or viral infections which affect the middle ear (the air-filled space behind your eardrum containing tiny vibrating bones of the ear).

Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, is an inflammation or swelling of tissue lining your sinuses which can lead to ear congestion.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury – Traumatic brain injury can cause auditory dysfunction. This tinnitus cause is also found to produce louder tinnitus symptoms than other tinnitus causes.
  • Diabetes – Sometimes tinnitus can be a symptom of a medical condition. Hearing loss is twice as common in those diagnosed with diabetes than those who do not have the disease. There is a chance for high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes to damage small blood vessels within the inner ear just as diabetes can damage kidneys and the eyes.
  • Cardiovascular Diseases – Having a cardiovascular disease may be a cause of your tinnitus. Cardiovascular disease and poor circulation are a tinnitus cause because of the blood flow to the inner ear being reduced or cut off.
  • Foreign Object or Earwax Touching the Eardrum – Pressure can change how the eardrum vibrates and result in tinnitus. It is not unusual for excessive earwax to be the cause of tinnitus. Having too much production of earwax regularly could be a result of an upper cervical misalignment, where the body is getting inadequate signals of how much fluid to drain and wax to produce because of a compressed brainstem.
  • Eustachian Tube Problems – The Eustachian tube plays an important role in regulating the cavity of the middle ear and contributes to voice modulation. This tube also equalizes the air pressure. If there is an issue with the Eustachian tube where it cannot function properly, it can lead to causing tinnitus.
  • Stiffening of the Middle Ear Bones – Otosclerosis, the stiffening of the middle ear bones, is an abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear. This prevents structures in your ear from working properly and causes hearing loss. Because the structures of your ear cannot function properly, it can become another tinnitus cause. Modifications in the central auditory pathway that otosclerosis causes are linked to tinnitus.
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ) – TMJ sufferers have a higher chance of developing tinnitus due to either the muscles around the temporomandibular joint affecting your hearing and promoting the tinnitus, a direct connection between the ligaments attached to the jaw and one of the hearing bones inside the middle ear, or the nerve supply from the temporomandibular joint that connects to parts of the brain and distorts the interpretation of sound. TMJ can also worsen tinnitus in those who had it before TMJ was developed.

There are also a few risk factors that can contribute to a higher risk of developing tinnitus. These risk factors include the following:

Noise Exposure – Noise exposure is the most common of all tinnitus causes. Consistent noise exposure from work, using headphones, attending concerts, loud explosives and such will contribute to increasing the chances of developing tinnitus. 

Occupational work exposure has significant effects on tinnitus and auditory fatigue as those who work in loud settings are being exposed to damaging noise constantly. It is important to take preventative actions to protecting your ears while at work to lower the risk of hearing damage and tinnitus.

Short-term tinnitus may occur after a concert or loud event, but long-term exposure to loud noises will eventually cause permanent damage and can lead to one having permanent tinnitus.

Smoking – Smoking is strongly linked to tinnitus, along with dizziness and vertigo. Teens who are exposed to cigarette smoke have a higher risk of developing hearing loss (up to two to three times more at risk than those who have had little to no smoke exposure).

Nicotine in cigarettes can make tinnitus worse as smoking can narrow your blood vessels that bring oxygen to your ears and cause your blood pressure to rise. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, smokers are 70% more likely to suffer from hearing loss compared to non-smokers. In this same study, they found passive smoking could cause hearing loss as well with non-smokers who live with someone who smokes to be 1.94 times more likely to suffer from hearing problems than those who were not living with a smoker. (Cigarette Smoking and Hearing Loss – The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study)

Hearing Loss – Only one third of all people who suffer from hearing loss will develop tinnitus, but hearing loss does increase the risk of developing tinnitus since the ear itself is already weakened. Most researchers have agreed tinnitus starts because of the brain trying to recover its ability to hear sound frequencies it has lost by increasing the signals of nearby frequencies.

It was also mentioned perhaps those who develop tinnitus that will not go away do not have a limbic system strong enough to eliminate those sounds.

Gender – Males have a higher chance of developing tinnitus than females. Part may be due to the fact more males work in louder professions and high hearing-risk behaviors such as motorsports or hunting.

Age – As we age, we are more at risk of developing tinnitus as our hearing changes.

Is There an All-Natural Tinnitus Treatment?

No matter the tinnitus cause, there is still an all-natural tinnitus treatment to improve the symptoms associated with tinnitus or eradicate it completely. This is because tinnitus has been shown to have a strong link to the upper cervical spine. Many patients have had great results in an upper cervical all-natural tinnitus treatment all because it targets the underlying cause of not only tinnitus, but the condition that causes it.

Medication and surgery for tinnitus focus on tinnitus symptoms to help you find relief while the underlying issue continues to worsen. Upper cervical treatments are very gentle on the body and involve precise adjustments, making them an all-natural tinnitus treatment that is safe for any age.