It's not clear exactly what causes tinnitus, but it's thought to be a problem with the way the ear hears sounds and the way the brain interprets them. They'll examine the outside and inside of the ear for obvious problems they can treat, such as earwax buildup or an ear infection. If you have pulsating tinnitus, your neck and side of your head will also be heard with a stethoscope. For example, if tinnitus is due to a build-up of earwax, ear drops or ear irrigate may be used.
Ear irrigation involves using a pressurized flow of water to remove earwax. Learn more about how earwax build-up is treated. Traumatic brain injury, caused by a brain shock, can damage the auditory processing areas of the brain and cause symptoms of tinnitus. This is certainly true with hearing loss and Ménière's disease, in which tinnitus is one of several symptoms caused by the primary disorder.
While tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, there are approximately 200 different health disorders that can cause tinnitus as a symptom. Nasal congestion caused by a severe cold, flu, or sinus infection can cause abnormal pressure in the middle ear, affect normal hearing, and cause symptoms of tinnitus. Patients who suffer from tinnitus should see their doctor or a hearing health professional for a thorough examination to diagnose the underlying cause of the symptoms. However, in most cases and for most medications, tinnitus is an acute and short-lived side effect, meaning that if the patient stops taking the medication, the symptoms of tinnitus usually disappear.
In addition, objects that directly touch the eardrum can irritate the organ and cause the perception of tinnitus symptoms. Although tinnitus is usually not dangerous, it may be a symptom of another underlying health problem or condition. Hearing loss is the primary catalyst for tinnitus symptoms; it's common for patients to experience both conditions simultaneously.