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Causes, Characteristics and Prevention of Tinnitus

Tinnitus (耳鳴), commonly known as ringing in the ears, can be more than just a nuisance—it can significantly impact your quality of life. This auditory condition is characterised by the perception of noise or ringing in the ears when no external sound is present. It affects people of all ages and can manifest in various ways, from a low hum to a high-pitched shriek. This blog delves into the causes, characteristics, and prevention methods for tinnitus, offering insights into managing this misunderstood condition. 

Understanding Tinnitus     

Tinnitus is not a disease but rather a symptom that can result from a range of underlying causes. It can be temporary or chronic and may affect one or both ears. While it's commonly described as a ringing sound, tinnitus can also sound like hissing, buzzing, whistling, swooshing, or clicking.

Causes of Tinnitus   

The etiology of tinnitus is diverse and can include: 

  • Hearing Loss: Often, tinnitus is associated with age-related hearing loss, but it can also result from long-term exposure to loud noises or severe acute injury (noise trauma), which can damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear.  
  • Ear and Sinus Infections: Infections can cause fluid and pressure build up that affects your ear function.  
  • Diseases: Meniere's disease, otosclerosis, aneurysms or tumours can contribute to tinnitus .  
  • Medications: Some prescription medicines like the diuretics ethacrynic acid and acetazolamide and over-the-counter medications list tinnitus as a possible (ototoxic) side effect  
  • Lifestyle Factors: High stress, anxiety, and indulgence in tobacco smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, can exacerbate tinnitus. 

Characteristics of Tinnitus    

Tinnitus may be characterized as: 

  • Persistent ringing, buzzing, hissing, or other sounds in the ears. 
  • Difficulty concentrating or sleeping due to the intrusive noise. 
  • A feeling of fullness in the ears. 
  • Hearing difficulties, especially in environments with background noise. 

Prevention and Management Strategies   

While there is no definitive diagnostic test or cure for tinnitus, there are, however, several strategies to prevent and manage the condition: 

  • Protect Your Hearing: Wear ear protection in loud environments and lower the volume on personal audio devices.  
  • Regular hearing tests: Regular audiometric (hearing) evaluations are advised especially for individuals constantly exposed to high-noise environments e.g. military personnel, miners, construction workers, airport ground personnel. Also recommended for the elderly with early age-related hearing loss. 
  • Manage Stress: Stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, can help reduce the intensity of tinnitus.  
  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.  
  • Medication Review: Review your medications with your healthcare provider to identify any contributing factors to tinnitus.  
  • Sound Therapy: Using white noise machines, hearing aids, or sound therapy can help mask the noise and make tinnitus less noticeable. 


While tinnitus can be a challenging condition, understanding its causes and symptoms is the first step toward effective management. By adopting preventive measures and working with healthcare professionals, you can improve your quality of life and find relief from tinnitus. 


At OT&P Healthcare, we're dedicated to providing comprehensive care for individuals experiencing tinnitus. Our team of experts is committed to helping you navigate this condition with personalised treatment plans and support. If you or a loved one is struggling with tinnitus, don't hesitate to contact us for professional care and advice. 



  1. Mayo Clinic. Tinnitus. 1 Feb 2024 Retrieved from  
  2. NIH. Tinnitus. 1 Feb 2024 Retrieved from  
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Tinnitus. 1 Feb 2024 Retrieved from  
  4. PennMedicine. Tinnitus. 1 Feb 2024 Retrieved from  

Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.