Does Tinnitus Cause Hearing Loss?

Tinnitus itself does not directly cause hearing loss, but it is often associated with underlying hearing problems. Tinnitus is a condition characterized by the perception of ringing, buzzing, hissing, or other noises in the ears when there is no external sound source. It can be a symptom of an underlying issue with the auditory system.

Common causes of tinnitus include:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss: Prolonged exposure to loud noises can damage the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to both hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Age-related hearing loss: Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, can be associated with tinnitus.
  • Earwax blockage: A blockage of earwax can cause tinnitus and may be accompanied by temporary hearing impairment.
  • Ear and sinus infections: Infections in the ear or sinuses can cause tinnitus and may also result in temporary hearing loss.
  • Medications: Some medications can cause tinnitus as a side effect, but this is usually reversible upon discontinuing the medication.
  • Head or neck injuries: Trauma to the head or neck can damage the auditory system, potentially leading to both tinnitus and hearing loss.

In these cases, the tinnitus is often a symptom of an underlying issue affecting the auditory system, and hearing loss can accompany it. However, not everyone with tinnitus will experience hearing loss, and the severity of tinnitus can vary from person to person. It’s important to have tinnitus evaluated by a healthcare professional, such as an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat specialist, to determine its underlying cause and appropriate treatment. If hearing loss is a concern, they can also assess your hearing and recommend suitable interventions or hearing aids if necessary.