15 Possible Causes of Tinnitus: Survey Results
I have Tinnitus (ringing in the ears). I also studied statistical analysis in college. So, making use of my background, I conducted a survey of Tinnitus sufferers and then analyzed the results of 15 possible causes.
I compiled the results into a form that can be easily interpreted to show if there are any common causes of Tinnitus.
The results are separated into three categories:
- Probably Not Related to Tinnitus
- More Likely Related to Tinnitus
- Inconclusive Results
In some cases the percentages don’t add up to 100%. This is due to people who were not sure (and therefore did not answer yes or no).
When reviewing the following results, one should keep in mind that statistics can fool us. Since I studied statistical analysis in college, I realize that my research with this survey is not complete. It’s one-sided.
The only way to make sense of the results would be if an equal number of people who didn't have Tinnitus also took the survey. That would balance out the results between both sides, which would provide a more complete picture when comparing answers to the questions.
Since I did not survey people who don't have Tinnitus, the results presented here are inconclusive. Nevertheless, for what it’s worth, it’s interesting to consider the following results.
Probably Not Related to Tinnitus
These are issues that received many more “no” responses than “yes” responses in the survey. These issues may not be related to Tinnitus. They are the following:
- Deviated septum - 15% Yes / 69% No
- Rosacea - 38% Yes / 62% No
- Herniated disc in cervical spine (neck) - 31% Yes / 69% No
- Lives near high power electric wires - 17% Yes / 83% No
- Tourette - 0% Yes / 100% No
- Uses artificial sweeteners - 27% Yes / 73% No
- Hit on the ears or sideways slam to the head - 25% Yes / 75% No
- Aphasia symptoms (unable to speak for short period) - 7% Yes / 80% No
One of the ideas some professionals have about certain forms of Tinnitus is that it’s a malfunction of the brain, specifically of the auditory functions.
This is thought to be the case when no other cause can be attributed to it, such as is obvious if one has hearing loss.
Look at the results on Tourette’s syndrome. Zero percent of Tinnitus sufferers have it (at least of the few who took the survey). A reverse survey would be useful to compare, to see how many Tourette sufferers have Tinnitus. Unfortunately, I don't have that survey.
The items I put in this survey would show if a malfunction of the brain chemistry might be the cause. However, based on the higher rate of the “no” answers the conclusion is looking like it’s not the case.
I was almost sure I’d see more yes votes for Rosacea. I had this idea in mind that Rosacea can be an ailment that attacks tissues deep inside in addition to the skin on the surface, thus affecting brain function. But what do I know?
More Likely to Be Related to Tinnitus
Four things stood out in my survey with more people saying "yes" and I feel that the medical community should consider investigation of these particular issues.
- Vertigo - 54% Yes / 46% No
- Have mercury teeth fillings - 62% Yes / 38% No
- Has WiFi router in home or work - 92% Yes / 8% No
- Stood near loud speakers in discos or nightclubs - 75% Yes / 25% No
CAN VERTIGO CAUSE TINNITUS?
Vertigo was close to the middle, but is leaning towards a possibility. Results can also be in the middle because there are many different reasons for Tinnitus.
CAN MERCURY FILLINGS CAUSE TINNITUS?
I find it interesting how many people with Tinnitus have Mercury fillings. I wonder if this can be a cause.
I once asked my dentist about removing my mercury fillings that I got as a child. He said it’s safer to leaver them, since the removal process can cause more mercury to be released into the system. He said that if left alone, little is absorbed. Not enough to cause trouble. Nevertheless, I wonder about this.
CAN WIFI CAUSE TINNITUS?
I developed Tinnitus in 2005, shortly after WiFi routers started to become a common occurrence in homes and offices. I installed WiFi in my home 2003.
The high 92% percentage of WiFi users is misleading and this result is meaningless, but it’s an interesting situation to consider. It does not mean that WiFi causes Tinnitus. The high score was only because most people have WiFi in their homes these days.
LOUD MUSIC AND TINNITUS
Standing near speakers in a nightclub and listening to loud music is clearly an issue. One surefire cause of Tinnitus is noise induced. Being near an explosion, for example, leaves people with ringing in the ears and possibly loss of hearing.
I consider the issues that had nearly equal yes and no responses to be inconclusive. They may or may not have anything to do with developing Tinnitus.
- Allows water to run in ears during shower – 50% Yes / 50% No
- Blows nose hard - 46% Yes / 54% No
- Had nosebleeds - 50% Yes / 50% No
Since the results are so balanced with these three items, they should not be ruled out. The results are inconclusive. However, with half the responses being positive, they may be considered a possible cause of Tinnitus.
Do Doctors Care About Tinnitus Research?
There are many possible causes for Tinnitus, ranging from stress to hearing loss. The problem I ran into is that each specialist told me something different, and I never actually found one who knew much about it.
I had one audiologist give me a hearing test. I passed. He couldn't understand why I didn't have hearing loss. What's worse is that he didn't understand the difference between subjective and objective Tinnitus.
The difference is important, and any doctor who does not know this is a quack. The answer to this would indicate if the Tinnitus is a real sound in the ear or if the brain imagines it.
When I asked him about this he admitted he never tested for it. This surprised me because he was a professional audiologist. The test he performed was a total waste of time.
Another doctor did a CT Scan, but then when I asked if the eighth cranial nerve was visualized in the scan, he admitted he did not image that meaningful auditory nerve. What a waste that was!
These doctors bill the insurance companies for this useless work! That's really a shame!
I am sure there are doctors in the field who have integrity and have a desire to make a difference for patients rather than making believe they know something. I welcome any professional who really wants to makes a difference to use my survey results in their own research.
Questions & Answers
Why does my tinnitus get worse sometimes?
The level, or volume, of Tinnitus can fluctuate based on any number of factors. Stress, food allergies, and blood pressure could have an effect on you. You didn’t mention when yours gets worse, so I’ll elaborate on several instances.
I noticed that my tinnitus gets worse at night when I try to sleep. That might very well be because I’m paying more attention to it. During the day, I’ve learned to allow my activities to overpower my thought process and I simply don’t pay attention to it. But it’s still there; it just doesn’t bother me as much when I’m actively doing other things.
You didn’t say what kind of tinnitus you have, but people with pulsating tinnitus say it gets worse when they lie down. This can be a drag when trying to fall asleep.
If you notice your tinnitus is more like a pulsating kind, it may be Objective Tinnitus, caused either by blood vessels making pulsating sounds or by muscle movements. Lying down is known to make this type worse. You should get this checked out by a cardiologist if that’s what you have, since you could have plaque buildup in your blood vessels.
Mine is not pulsating, it’s Subjective Tinnitus. That’s a perception of sound produced by the brain. I’ve learned to ignore it when I’m falling asleep. I used to try using noise machines, but they never worked ⎯ at least not for me. Some people swear by them, so it’s worth trying. They help distract your attention from the tinnitus.
It’s helpful to discover what activities you are doing that may help or hinder the level of your tinnitus. Keep a log of what you’re doing each day and how you feel. Keep a record of the foods you are eating. Some foods might be causing it to get worse. I found too much coffee makes it worse, but everyone is different. You need to find out for yourself, and keeping a log helps with doing that.
Also, include your stress level in your log. I discovered stress is the strongest cause of my loudness. This might be true for you too.
After you have created a log of your activities, foods you eat everyday, and your stress level, you should have a better impression of what changes you need to make in your life to avoid a high volume of your tinnitus.
I elaborate further on Tinnitus in another article: "Tinnitus Sufferers Experience with Ringing in the Ears" - https://healdove.com/disabilities/tinnitus-suffere...
© 2013 Glenn Stok