Causes and Diagnosis
Tinnitus is a condition generated within an individual’s own auditory system, not a disease or an illness. The precise cause of tinnitus is not fully understood, but tinnitus has been associated with:
- Exposure to loud noises, which can damage or destroy hair cells, called cilia, in the inner ear. Once damaged, these hair cells cannot be repaired or replaced.
- Medications that are toxic to the ear (ototoxic).
- Trauma to the head/neck.
- Certain types of tumors.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Meniere’s disease.
A history and physical exam can be performed, but as there is often no one cause, the exam is typically focused on ruling out any significant diseases that may be associated with tinnitus.