There are two types of tinnitus: primary and secondary. When an underlying cause can’t be found, you have primary tinnitus. Secondary tinnitus is caused by an underlying problem. The most common causes include:
- Wax buildup
- Nerve conditions
- Age-related hearing loss
- Certain medications
- Pressure on your eardrum
- Structural abnormalities in the ear
- Eustachian tube dysfunction
- Exposure to loud noise
Exposure to loud sounds frequently leads to tinnitus. Heavy equipment, firearms, and long-term exposure to loud music are a few of the top culprits.
When you have long-term exposure, you can develop permanent damage and hearing loss. Short-term exposure to a loud sound often results in temporary tinnitus.
Less common causes of tinnitus include temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, Meniere’s disease, a benign tumor, or trauma. Some patients experience muscle spasms in their inner ear, a problem that leads to tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in your ear.
In rare cases, tinnitus develops due to an underlying blood vessel disorder. A few examples include atherosclerosis in blood vessels in your ear or malformed capillaries.