If you’ve ever wondered, “Why do my ears ring?” you’re not alone. Many Americans have the same question. This annoying noise can be extremely distracting and even debilitating if it persists for more than 24 hours at a stretch. While there’s no known cause for tinnitus, it is generally believed to be caused by over or injured ear cells. These cells produce projections that resemble hairs and act as the brain’s “hair cells” in interpreting sound. In order to hear, pressure waves moving through the air hit your ears and cause the eardrums to vibrate. Then, the vibrations are transferred to the fluid inside your inner ear, where the noise is processed by the brain.
Another cause of ear ringing is earwax. Excessive earwax can block the ear canal and impair hearing. If it doesn’t wash away, this buildup can cause tinnitus, too. Fluid buildup in the middle ear is another cause. While tinnitus can be caused by a variety of conditions, it is most common in people with hearing loss.
Tinnitus is a common disorder characterized by a ringing sensation in the ears. It is not a disease, but rather the result of damage to the tiny hairs in the inner ear, which send signals to the brain that control how you hear sound. Tinnitus can be temporary or last for a lifetime. About half of the American population reports tinnitus at some point in their lives. Most people with this disorder experience the sounds of high-frequency sound.