Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors and each individual case is unique. Tinnitus typically occurs in the auditory system as a result of hearing loss.

This hearing loss can result from exposure to loud noises, certain types of drugs and medication, middle ear infections, or other reasons.

In a small proportion of cases, tinnitus arises from a condition that requires medical or surgical intervention.

Once the tinnitus signal is generated in the auditory system, another part of the brain (the limbic system) attaches an emotional response to it. Similar to the “feeling” you get when you scratch your fingernails down a blackboard, tinnitus is more than just a perceived sound. Tinnitus can trigger anxiety and stress responses in the body which, in addition to the limbic system, also involves the autonomic nervous system.

Role of Hearing Loss in Triggering Tinnitus
Usually, tinnitus is triggered in the first instance by some disruption to the auditory system. Typically, this involves some form of hearing loss, which may be the result of aging, exposure to loud noises, certain types of drugs and medication, middle ear infections, or any one of many other causes.

Regardless of the cause of the hearing loss, and whether it is permanent or temporary, it can lead to the changes in the activity of neurons in the auditory system, which is then interpreted by the auditory cortex as sound.

Other Tinnitus Triggers
In a small proportion of cases, tinnitus arises from a condition that requires medical or surgical intervention.

Drugs that have been implicated in hearing damage and tinnitus include:

  • Anti-Inflammatories
  • Antibiotics (Aminoglycosides)
  • Antidepressants (Heterocyclines)
  • Aspirin
  • Quinine
  • Loop Diuretics
  • Chemotherapeutic Agents (Cisplatin)

In rare cases, tinnitus might result from an underlying medical problem, such as:

  • Arteriovenus Malformation
  • Vascular Tumor
  • Benign Intracranial Hypertension
  • Palatal or Stapedial Myoclonus
  • Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
  • Temporal Mandibular Joint Problem
  • Acoustic Neuroma (Vestibular Schwannoma)
  • Otosclerosis
  • Meniere’s Disease

Although these other causes contribute to only a small percentage of tinnitus cases, their existence underlines the need for a thorough head, ear, nose and throat examination. Appropriate referral to an Otolaryngologist or Prosthodontist might also be required.

Treatment
Until recently, the only available options were treatments that addressed the symptoms (such as anxiety) and not the root causes of tinnitus. But new breakthroughs in tinnitus treatment address the neurological, audiological and psychological basis of tinnitus.
Here’s why we say it’s a “breakthrough treatment:”

  • Reduces symptoms quickly – Many patients enjoy some relief almost immediately
  • Treats the cause – Addresses underlying neurological causes of tinnitus
  • Provides significant long-term relief – Relief can be sustained even long after the treatment ends
  • Convenient and non-invasive – No medication or surgery required.
  • Clinically proven – Shown to be effective for 90% of suitable tinnitus patients in rigorous clinical testing.

Contact us to find out more and set up a consultation with an audiologist!