Cause of tinnitus discovered

Some people think tinnitus starts with hearing loss or hearing low

By Rafique Mangat
March 03, 2024
In this representational image, a woman can be seen suffering from ear pain. — Unsplash

KARACHI: The scientists at the Harvard Medical School have discovered the mysterious cause of tinnitus, a sensation or ringing in the ears.


Though a normal test does not show signs of hearing loss, tinnitus is caused by affected hidden auditory nerve. In some cases, noise or tinnitus is caused by a tumor or infection of the auditory nerve, earwax or affected blood vessels.

Some people think tinnitus starts with hearing loss or hearing low. The overactive brain tries to compensate it, which creates noise. But this theory does not address the problem of people who have normal hearing tests but still have tinnitus.

What causes tinnitus? Scientists at the Harvard Medical School found evidence some people have hidden hearing loss — the auditory nerve that carries sound signals from the ear to the brain is damaged or affected. And they don’t show up in conventional tests.

People with measurable hearing loss can use devices to reduce tinnitus. But hearing aids are not recommended for people with normal tests.

Even if a doctor suspects impaired hearing because there are no tests outside of research labs to measure it. When the hearing loss is not overt, i.e. covert, only part of the auditory nerve is degenerating, the other part lives for years or decades.

Several experiments showed it is possible to regenerate nerve fibers in animals. If scientists are one day able to reproduce these fibers in humans, they could restore lost information in the brain.

This can reduce the perception of brain hyperactivity and tinnitus. Until that day, this problem will remain. It is not clear when this will happen. According to a report published in “Harvard Health Publishing”, the following steps scan help:

Engage your mind; tinnitus seems calmer by listening to different sounds of equal intensity (white noise) or nature sounds; use a white noise machine, sleep headphones, ear buds or a sound mask device; use mind body therapy; therapy and biofeedback can help you redirect negative thoughts and feelings associated with tinnitus; reduce mental stress; try yoga for stress management; live a healthy lifestyle; practice good sleep hygiene; exercise daily. Each of these healthy habits can help reduce the frequency and severity of tinnitus and reduce stress.