Can Tinnitus Cause Hearing Loss?

Tinnitus

Tinnitus itself does not typically cause hearing loss. However, tinnitus and hearing loss can often be associated with each other, and they may share common underlying causes. Here’s how they are related:

  • Common Causes: Both tinnitus and hearing loss can be caused by factors like exposure to loud noises, age-related changes in the inner ear, and certain medical conditions. These common causes can lead to both tinnitus and hearing loss.
  • Hearing Loss as a Precursor: In many cases, hearing loss precedes the development of tinnitus. When hearing loss occurs, the brain may compensate for the reduced auditory input by generating the perception of sound, which is experienced as tinnitus. This is known as “sensorineural tinnitus.”
  • Co-Occurrence: Many individuals with tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss. Tinnitus may be more noticeable in people with hearing loss because the reduced ability to hear external sounds makes the tinnitus more apparent.

It’s essential to understand that while tinnitus and hearing loss can be related, they are distinct conditions. Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head when no external sound source is present, while hearing loss involves a reduced ability to hear external sounds.

If you are experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss, it’s important to seek evaluation and treatment from an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. They can help determine the underlying causes of your symptoms and recommend appropriate interventions, such as hearing aids for hearing loss or management strategies for tinnitus. In some cases, addressing hearing loss through hearing aids may also provide relief from tinnitus by improving overall auditory perception.

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