ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Know the Causes of Tinnitus, Know the Possible Treatments

Tinnitus refers to the perception of noise by the affected person –and studies have shown that 1 in 5 people are affected by it. But it isn’t a medical condition in itself but it is instead a symptom of an underlying health issue, which can be an ear injury or age-related hearing loss.


Indeed, the determination of the cause of tinnitus is a must for formulating an effective treatment plan. When we say “effective treatment plan”, we don’t necessarily mean that the ringing, buzzing, or clicking noises will be completely eliminated. In some cases, the symptoms can only improve in the sense that these noises are reduced in severity, frequency and duration.


Damage to the Inner Ear Cell


You inner ear has tiny and delicate hairs that move according to the pressure of sound waves from the environment. Your ear cells release an electrical signal from your auditory nerve to your brain that, in turn, converts it to sound. Your inner ear’s hairs, however, can either be broken or bent so random electrical signals are sent to the brain instead.


The result: You will hear the characteristic clicking, ringing, or buzzing sounds of tinnitus. Your doctor will likely consider inner ear cell damage as the first cause behind the phantom noises unless other causes have been found.


The damage can be caused by several factors, too, including:


  • Age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis
  • Prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as those generated by heavy equipment, portable music devices, and loudspeakers
  • Earwax blockage resulting in eardrum irritation
  • Changes in the ear bone, such as stiffening of the bones


Injuries and Illnesses Causing Damage to the Ears


The following causes of tinnitus are less common but these are possible in your case, nonetheless. Your ENT doctor will test you for the following injuries or illnesses when the abovementioned causes have been ruled out.


  • Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Neck or head injuries can affect brain function, the auditory nerve, or the inner ear
  • Tumors, such as acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor in the cranial nerve
  • Blood vessel disorders, such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, irregular blood flow, and capillaries malformation


Your ENT doctor will treat whatever underlying medical condition you have as part of your tinnitus treatment.


But beware as certain medications can also cause the phantom noises. These include antibiotics, cancer medications, diuretics, antidepressants, and quinine. Your ENT doctor will then ask whether you’re taking one of these medications and determine if these are causing or worsening your symptoms.


For more details of your ear diseases or hearing problems, please contact us.



HK ENT Specialist offer ear services as below:

Ear (Otology)

Neonatal hearing screening

Paediatric and adult hearing test

Hearing restoration treatments including cochlear implant surgery, bone anchored hearing aid surgery

Stapedectomy and ossiculoplasty

A comprehensive range of micro ear surgery, etc.


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