An accurate cause or trigger for Tinnitus is not yet completely understood, and cases may emerge without any obvious explanation. The symptoms of Tinnitus can begin suddenly or gradually, and with or without any clear reason. However, it is known that Tinnitus may be associated with:
- Exposure to loud sounds
- Ear infections
- Emotional stress
- Head or ear injuries
- Hearing loss
- Medication side effects
- Combination from any of these
A few cases of Tinnitus do appear to be associated with how you sit, your position when lying down, or on turning the head. The pressure on your muscles, nerves, or blood vessels, as well as changes in the blood flow following these types of positions or movements, could also affect the intensity of your Tinnitus.
A current ear infection, cold, or injury may sometimes become a source for Tinnitus that may or may not be short-term. You may also find that major noise exposure, or ear syringing may trigger Tinnitus.
Stress can trigger your experience of Tinnitus, or result in your current Tinnitus becoming worse. Research has shown the link between depression and noise sensitivity. When you are under stress, low frequency noise may become irritating whether you are experiencing Tinnitus or not.
Can taking any drugs become a trigger for Tinnitus?
Drugs which can be harmful for hearing or affect the ear are recognized as ‘ototoxic’. A few ototoxic drugs can make the experience of Tinnitus suddenly worse, even if it is only temporary, while some others may cause long-term damage. A small number of ototoxic drugs are thought to cause lasting hearing loss or Tinnitus. These drugs are prescribed rarely and only to patients that are seriously ill and hospitalised. Your doctor will tell you about the probable side effects of any drugs prescribed, and whether or not they may affect your hearing. In a lot of cases, ototoxic drugs may be prescribed for life-saving purposes that would overshadow the risks of side effects that could cause Tinnitus or hearing loss. You have to be monitored while you take prescribed ototoxic drugs.
Is there a relationship between Tinnitus and Stress?
It is considered doubtful that stress may actually be a direct cause of Tinnitus, however research done in this area shows that there could be a link. Some sources of stress such as bereavement, illness, divorce, redundancy or major exams may at times be the trigger for Tinnitus, or worsen any pre-existing symptoms.
Nevertheless, Tinnitus can affect people in different ways. A few people discover having Tinnitus makes them feel stressed, anxious, tense, depressed, and lead to difficulty getting to sleep as well as staying sleeping. Anyone already suffering from depression may find symptoms become worse after developing Tinnitus. This can lead to a vicious circle where stress and anxiety can make Tinnitus worse, and then this will lead to greater feeling of anxiety and stress.