Is It Normal to Have Occasional Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition in which you experience ringing or other noises in one or both ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound, so the people around you most likely can’t hear what you are hearing.   

According to AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation), tinnitus is a common problem, affecting 10% to 15% of adults in the United States. 

Tinnitus can be temporary or long term and can affect anyone. You may have even experienced a brief period of tinnitus yourself. Today, we are examining why tinnitus can occur from time to time.  

What Is Tinnitus?

The term tinnitus refers to the presence of a ringing in the ears in the absence of external sounds. Ringing is the most common symptom of tinnitus, but there are others as well, which include: 

  • Buzzing
  • Chirping
  • Hissing 
  • Clanging.

Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a mental health issue. Tinnitus that happens occasionally or intermittently is the typical tinnitus that affects many adults but instead of being consistent, it comes and goes, present on some days but not other days.

Occasional Ear Ringing

The best way to differentiate occasional tinnitus from continuous tinnitus is to pay attention to the amount of time that you have ringing in your ears. 

The ringing can last up to a few minutes or be intermittent throughout the day. The following day, you may not experience it all.

This occasional ringing can be a sign of tinnitus if the ringing in your ears does not subside, or if the frequency with which you experience it is increasing. Occasional tinnitus fluctuates not only in terms of presence and absence, but also can fluctuate in terms of how loud or soft it is.

What Causes Occasional and Continuous Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is usually seen as a specific condition, but it’s actually a symptom of one or more possible health conditions. It could be that tinnitus is associated with hearing loss that is common in older people. Other common causes include:

  • Infection, blockage or earwax within the ear – The ear and ear canal function best when they’re relatively clear. Infections or other conditions can block your ear canal with wax, fluid or other substances. This blockage can cause tinnitus by altering the pressure inside the ear or by affecting the ear receptors.
  • Medication and ringing in the ears – Tinnitus can be a possible side effect with certain medications and can appear or increase when medications are started or increased.
  • Hearing impacted by a head injury – Head injuries can damage areas related to hearing, including the ear canal, hearing receptors, nerves, and the brain.
  • Meniere’s disease – In this condition, there is chronic excess fluid in the inner ear. As a result of this fluid, pressure changes occur in your ears, causing possible hearing loss, balance issues, and, not uncommonly, a sensation of ringing or roaring. The cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, and it usually affects people who are in their 40s, 50s or older.
  • Sinus infections and tinnitus – Middle ear pressure may increase as a result of nasal congestion associated with sinus infections. This pressure can sometimes lead to ringing in your ears.

According to a report in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can bring on tinnitus. It can fluctuate based on a person’s well-being and mental state. Stress and mood changes are key triggers for many people who suffers from tinnitus. Per Dr. Strom, a member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association, mental stress may very well be the number one reason for occasional tinnitus. However, more research is needed to prove this out.  

When To Seek Help:

There could come a point when you need to seek professional help. But, it’s not necessary to schedule an appointment with an audiologist just because you’ve experienced a temporary sensation of ringing in your ears. 

Treatment should be considered when the ringing becomes more frequent or invasive. Remember, tinnitus can present itself as different sounds, not just ringing. It doesn’t matter what the sound is; if you continue to hear something that isn’t caused by external factors, it’s worth getting checked out. 

Contact Us Today!

If you’d like to speak to your local hearing healthcare specialist about tinnitus or any other hearing issue, get in touch with the hearing team at REM Audiology. Call us today on (888) 710-5734. Alternatively, click here to contact us online.

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