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Facts About Tinnitus

It can be loud or soft, high pitched or low pitched. You may notice it in either or both ears. Roughly 10% of the adults in the US have had tinnitus lasting five or more minutes in the last year. This amounts to almost 25 million Americans.

What causes tinnitus?

Something as straightforward as a sheet of earwax blocking the ear canal may lead to tinnitus. However, it may also be the result of a variety of health ailments, for example:

Tinnitus is sometimes the first indication of hearing loss in elderly individuals. Additionally, it may be a side effect of drugs. Over 200 drugs are known to cause tinnitus once you begin or quit taking them.

Individuals working in noisy environments -- such as factory or construction workers, road crews, or perhaps musicians -- may create tinnitus over the years when continuing exposure to sound damages miniature sensory hair cells in the inner ear which help transmit sound to the mind. This can be known as noise-induced hearing loss.