From buzzing to hissing, that ringing sensation in your ear could be serious, especially if you experience it often. Over 350,000 Canadians have some form of ear ringing throughout adulthood. Almost all chronic ringing of the ears is a condition known as tinnitus.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be described as buzzing, roaring, ringing or hissing in the ears. It may occur in one or both ears and may affect people of all ages, but is more common in adults. The ringing sensation can be intermittent or constant, and is annoying and bothersome at times.
What does the ringing mean?
There are a number of reasons your ears may ring. The most common reasons your ears may be buzzing include:
Excessive volume exposure
When your ears are exposed to loud noise for a period of time, ringing may ensue. People who like their music loud while driving or those who work in noisy factories may experience ear ringing. Keeping the volume low when listening to music, especially when wearing ear buds or headphones can help protect your ears.
Your ears need cleaned
Another reason your ears may ring is due to a natural buildup of earwax. When there is blockage in the ear canal, you may hear sounds that really are not there. Ask your doctor for a quick check-up to see if you could benefit from an ear cleaning.
You’re under too much stress
People who have too much pressure on them often experience ear ringing. For those dealing with emotional stress, you may need to see your doctor right away. While stress may not be the cause of tinnitus, it is a major contributor. There may be other problems going on with your heart, blood pressure or brain, which need to be examined by a doctor.
You need to lay off the caffeine
Some people who consume too much caffeine may experience ear buzzing that is troublesome and annoying. Laying off the coffee completely, or cutting back, may help resolve the symptoms. If you’re a one to two pot consumer, it may be time to reel it in and limit yourself to less than three cups per day. Too much coffee can also lead to other health problems.
Check your medicine cabinet
A common cause of ear ringing comes from certain medications, especially if taken in high doses. Some of the medications known for contributing to ear ringing side effects include antidepressants, antibiotics and even aspirin. If you experience ear ringing, report the symptoms to your doctor to see if the pills may be contributing to the problem.
The worst thing a person with ear ringing can do is let the problem continue without seeking medical attention. While most symptoms resolve with time, chronic ear ringing may mean there is a serious problem. Hearing loss, eardrum damage or infection may occur if the symptoms are not treated.