Ringing in ears in the absence of sound around is commonly known as tinnitus. Tinnitus or ringing in ears itself is not a disease, but a symptom which is a signal of an underlying disease or condition in the patient. It can be caused due to high blood pressure, hypertension and hardening of blood vessels, especially arteries.
What Happens in Tinnitus (Ringing in Ears)?
As mentioned earlier tinnitus is not a disease, but a signal of some underlying health problem which has to be treated. The tiny hairs present in the inner ear are supposed to malfunction in tinnitus. Due to the malfunction, the signals carried to the brain are affected and the mechanism of way the patient hears changes. This leads to ringing of the ears.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Ringing in Ears?
High Blood Pressure: Having high blood pressure or other conditions that may cause the blood pressure to increase like hypertension or stress causes ringing in ears or tinnitus. Consumption of excessive amount of alcohol and caffeine can aggravate the problem. Reducing and managing the high blood pressure can help in preventing ringing in ears.
Ringing in ears or Tinnitus can be also triggered due to a variety of factors. Some of the common factors include-
Old Age: Tinnitus can occur in aged people when their hearing deteriorates with age. They usually start after the age of 60.
Ear Wax Accumulation: A waxy substance called earwax is present in the ear canal, which traps dirt and bacteria thereby protecting the inner ear. However, due to the accumulation of too much of ear wax, irritation in the ear drum can cause which may lead to tinnitus.
Loud Noise Exposure: Prolonged exposure to loud noise like those from heavy machinery at workplace or any other place may lead to ringing in the ears. This may lead to hearing loss in the long run of left untreated.
Concerts: Ringing of ears can also occur due to short duration of exposure like in a loud concert. Prolonged use of musical devices like MP3 players and iPods can also lead to tinnitus. They may not look as serious a problem, but may lead to permanent hearing loss if not prevented at the right time.
Abnormal Bone Growth: Sometimes, the bones in the middle ear harden which changes the way signal goes to the brain. This may cause tinnitus. Apart from this, there is a chance of abnormal bone growth, which is commonly hereditary. This too may cause ringing in the ear.
Tumors: Presence of tumors in the head or neck region may also cause tinnitus, because it creates a pressure on the blood vessels in the associated areas.
Head Injury: Similarly, any form of head or neck injury can cause tinnitus. Such a form of injury affects the functioning of the inner ear which causes ringing in the ear.
Narrowed Arteries: Narrowing down of arteries and veins in the neck region can affect the blood flow in the body, which may cause a symptom of ringing in the ears.
Can Tinnitus Be Prevented From Occurring?
Although various factors like age-related hearing loss and sudden trauma cannot really be prevented, yet other factors may be prevented by taking proper care and precautions.
Low Volume: Hearing music in low volume may be advised in order to prevent damage of the hearing canal. Using headphones for hearing music should be avoided.
Wearing Hearing Protection- In case of exposure to noise from heavy machinery in workplace, hearing protection should be used during the work hours. Over the ear hearing protection are available for workers in the industry.
Lifestyle Changes: A person should live a healthy lifestyle. Routine exercise and a healthy diet keep cardiovascular problems at bay. Blood pressure should be checked from time to time to ensure proper functioning of blood vessels.