Learn more about tinnitus from your Columbia ENTs.

Are you troubled by an annoying ringing or buzzing in your ears? You may have tinnitus, a common condition that can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. The doctors at South Carolina ENT, located in Columbia, SC, explain several causes of tinnitus.

Why do I have tinnitus?

Roaring, whistling, buzzing, ringing or hissing sounds can interfere with your ability to hear and can be extremely irritating. In most cases, no one else but you can hear the sounds, which can change in intensity throughout the day. Tinnitus can be caused by:

Earwax Buildup: If you have so much earwax that it presses against your ear drum, you may begin to notice tinnitus symptoms.

Noise Exposure: Tinnitus can occur if you've been exposed to loud noises. People who work with heavy equipment or work in noisy environments are at risk, but the problem can also occur if you wear earbuds and turn the volume up too high. Tinnitus is a warning sign. If you don't protect your ears, permanent hearing loss can occur eventually.

Age: Tinnitus is more common as you age, particularly if you've developed age-related hearing loss.

Blood Flow Issues: Blood flow issues caused by hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure or the narrowing of an artery or vein in your neck can cause those annoying noises.

Medication Side Effects: Taking certain medications, such as antidepressants, antibiotics, cancer medications, diuretics and even high doses of aspirin, can cause tinnitus. Luckily, the problem usually goes away when you stop taking the medication.

Infections: Tinnitus can accompany an infection in your middle ear.

Tumors: The problem can also occur if you have a tumor in your head or neck.

Stress: Stress and anxiety can cause or worsen tinnitus.

Diseases and Disorders: You may be more likely to develop tinnitus if you have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) or Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder.

Injuries: Injuries to the head or neck can affect the nerves involved in hearing and trigger tinnitus symptoms.

Your ENT can help you identify the cause of your tinnitus symptoms. Call your Columbia, SC ear, nose and throat doctors at South Carolina ENT, at (803) 736-3277 to schedule an appointment.