What are the causes of Tinnitus?

Ringing in ear causes

What can cause tinnitus? There are a number of causes for Tinnitus including medical conditions, noises or earwax just to start.

It can often be difficult to understand the root causes of tinnitus, but, like many ear conditions, it is often associated with hearing loss, particularly in older people. As you age, the delicate hairs in your inner ear can become damaged, affecting how sound is transported to your brain. If the hairs inside your inner ear aren't working as they should, there is a reduction in nerve impulses to your brain.

However, there are many other factors that also cause the condition. We’ve outlined some of the common causes of as well as a few rarer occurrences, which can help you to take appropriate precautions in situations that may affect your hearing.

Exposure to loud noise

If you regularly use heavy machinery, listen to music at loud volumes or operate firearms, tinnitus could become a problem. While short-term exposure (such as attending a concert) may have temporary effects, longer-term use without appropriate ear protection can cause permanent damage.


This is the medical term for a stiffening of bones in the ear. Otosclerosis is an abnormal bone growth condition, normally passed down through gentics. This condition can cause partial deafness as well as tinnitus.

Earwax build-up

Can ear wax cause tinnitus? The answer is yes. Although a healthy level of earwax can help protect your ear canal from unwanted bacteria, compacted or excessive wax can lead to hearing loss or tinnitus. If you experience noticeably high wax levels you should make an appointment with your local doctor, nurse trained hearing healthcare professional to have them professionally cleaned on a regular basis.


Other Causes

As well as these three common causes, tinnitus can also be the result of:

  • Middle ear infection - An earache-causing condition that often affects hearing
  • Ménière's disease - A condition that causes abnormal fluid pressure to develop in the inner ear
  • High blood pressure - This may result in a pulse-like tinnitus
  • A perforated eardrum - A tear in the eardrum that prevents hearing and makes you susceptible to infections
  • Hyperthyroidism - An overactive thyroid gland
  • Adverse reaction to medication - When consumed in quantities that exceed the recommended dosage. Examples include antibiotics, diuretics and aspirin
  • Solvent, drug or alcohol abuse
  • Migraine headaches 

For less usual cases when it affects one ear or much louder in one ear than the other, a medical examination, preferably an ENT Specialist, it is necessary to understand whether it’s being caused by a condition requiring medical or surgical treatment

For more information on how you can help reduce the effects, visit our treatment page alternatively your local expert Amplifon Audiologist will be able to help support.

Frequently asked questions about tinnitus causes

Can high blood pressure cause tinnitus?

Yes. High blood pressure affects blood vessels and the flow of blood to the body, including ears and head. This might cause pulsatile tinnitus in one or both ears.

Can tinnitus cause dizziness?

Yes, tinnitus can cause constant ringing in the ear that might be perceived as hissing or buzzing, and this can affect one's daily life with dizziness and vertigo. Although vertigo can be the cause of balance and ear problems, not all people who suffer from tinnitus experience dizziness

Can anxiety cause tinnitus?

Yes, it could happen even though experts are not really sure about how anxiety triggers tinnitus. In fact, hearing problems are often related to stress. Anxiety puts a lot of pressure on nerves increasing the blood flow, and this pressure can travel up into your inner ear, resulting in what we commonly call tinnitus caused by stress.

Does tinnitus caused by medication go away?

Most of the time, yes! Tinnitus goes away in few days to a week after you stop taking them. Medications that cause temporary tinnitus are usually antibiotics, diuretics and antidepressant. They represent one of the frequent reasons for temporary buzzing in the ear
See how we can help with your tinnitus Book an appointment

Get support and advice

Book a free hearing test

Book now

Test your hearing online

Take the test

Find your nearest store

Find a store