What caused your tinnitus?: Having seen... - British Tinnitus ...

British Tinnitus Association
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What caused your tinnitus?


Having seen an ENT consultant (before the lockdown) who told me that T is caused by either a psychological or a physical trauma, I wonder which is the more common. For me, it was a combination of the two over an intense six month period (work stress, bereavement, family problems, dubious ear syringing). Constant high pitched ringing since then. I know it’s not helpful to dwell, but may it be useful to share experiences of T’s origins to increase general understanding.

20 Replies

I think that’s a very astute observation from the consultant and I have heard it said by an audiologist I saw. For me it was a combination of psychological trauma and a nasty labyrinthitis infection. It’s not an easy thing to live with but I am slowly adjusting. The impact on my mental health was huge and to receive medical and psychological support was key to my ongoing recovery and habituation.

All the best to you in your journey.

Hi my Tinnitus started with hearing loss but I had a accident while in duty as a nurse I took a patient down to x ray and banged my forehead severely within 24 hours I woke up to the most horrendously loud buzzing before my accident I only got tinnitus mildly I had to give up work within a year despite me trying and failed to sue the NHS I have lived with it since.


for me it was totally different, i was ill with a heavy cold, sneezed very heavily and that was it


It's nice when the BTA's ideas about tinnitus are shared by consultants :-)

It's absolutely possible for an initial physical issue to cause damage and result in tinnitus as a symptom - the distress following from it may be more psychological and it's how we react to tinnitus which makes that distress an ongoing problem or one which does get better over time.

The best way that I can think to describe the relationship is on our Tinnitus and Stress page - tinnitus.org.uk/tinnitus-an...

Not so with me. Never had head trauma, never was exposed to excessive noise, did not start at time of mental stress. It simply started twenty or so years ago and I do my best to ignore it.

Totally agree. It was osteopathic manipulation/traction that triggered my T two years ago, the focus of which seems to be within my neck. Hardly surprising given the way it was pulled about before I realized the migraine 'therapy' was unsound. Unfortunately, I cancelled too late, i.e. after the damage was done, rather than beforehand. It didn't take long to do long-term damage either; just 4/5 vigorous 30 minute sessions. It's been a harsh lesson, but the cause of my T is definitely physical trauma. Unfortunately, a diagnosis is proving expensive, elusive and may be impossible to locate.

The NHS refused to get involved beyond diagnosing "sudden onset tinnitus", suggesting habituation and masking/distraction techniques, along with anti-depressants. Depressingly familiar story.

Sounds familiar to me as well. Impinged c-5 c-6.

Been through every type of doc to try and diagnose. They never think to triangulate to isolate the cause or combination of causes. Institutional linierism.

Absolutely. In my experience, GPs go for an obvious diagnosis and trivialize symptoms that don't 'fit'. A friend who worked in a GP surgery told me that you have to keep going back again and again to be referred. Either that, or they diagnose you as an attention-seeker and suggest anti-depressants!

Once referred, trying to get some specialists to move out of their comfort zone and look at a broad picture or, heaven forbid, take a multi-disciplinary approach is like running through cold treacle. Again, too many specialists tend to go for the obvious diagnosis within their specialism, or dismiss symptoms as 'idiopathic' (cause unknown).

The T experience has turned me into a cynic!

Turned you into a realist. The neck, is overlooked by audiologists and neurologists as a potential cause of T. I am almost certain mine is a result of spinal stenosis. Thing is, they never ask or are curious to look into my case. They have resigned themselves to a belief in something they think they can hang their hat on, and that's good enough for them. My brother had T, then had c-5 c-6 fused, and his T went away. My neurosurgeon says it might work, but he wouldn't bet on it. Imagine if that's all it would take. Well, they won't recommend surgery because it's risky, so I'll just have to dream it's possible.

LaurenCB108 in reply to bridgeit

Yikes! I have been considering trying cranial sacral work but am not interested in anyone yanking my neck. Although I sure do want to remove my head some days! lol

bridgeit in reply to LaurenCB108

Hi Lauren, if it's any reassurance, I've read about craniosacral massage and it seems very gentle, nothing like cervical spine manipulation. I'd advise to make your neck a 'no-go' area to be on the safe side.

My T and associated symptoms are really bad tonight. Always worse when sitting down. Wouldn't it be great if our heads had an "off" switch....

LaurenCB108 in reply to bridgeit

Right. Neck no-go. Sorry it's hard for you tonight. Maybe listen to some gentle piano, Chopin nocturnes or something. Soul soothing. The trick for me is to get my mind off it. Unfortunately the off switch turns it all off, not just the head. Sigh.

I've had it done gently and it helps, but I've had it done by a physical theoropist and it made it worse. It needs to be energy work, not bone manipulation or "flesh pushing"

Traction made it worse as well.

I have only had it done by someone who barely moved their hands on my head. It was an amazing feeling. Lol A “flesh pusher” sounds like it should be done in a dark alley! BTW what was the word “matamerism” in you earlier post. Don’t know the word and couldn’t figure out what else it might have been. I paint too.

I was comparing visual sensory variables to auditory ones. In fine art printing or painting, different inks, paints or papers look different under different light sources, particularly if the manufacturer uses optical brighteners. Point being, there are many angles to look at T from. If we want to find the cause or the cure, we will need to triangulate, looking from the perspective of all suspected causes, and linking the patterns we find, using accumulative experience "data" from a large group of T sufferers, kind of like what we are doing here but more comprehensively. Maybe healthunlocked could coordinate such a survey.?

I'm a painter, so I tend to look at things like the color wheel: Primary, secondary, tertiary. When you want to find out how a color is made, you triangulate. Like GPS or TDS navigation or a chess game, you need a multidimensional perspective. A conclusion can't be drawn until the color matches and even then, the light source and reflected light and matamerism change its appearance.

T is a condition that has eluded researchers. A great mystery, the answer to which lies within our own bodies.

Thanks for your perspective.

My Pulse Tinnitus started 3 years ago when I started a chemo drug that I take every day. I have had all the test, but no conclusion on the reasons why. Could be the drug, could be something else!

Huge levels of stress, blocked wax , then having ears brutally suctioned, ear infections, many types of ear drops to sotfen wax, two types of anti- biotics, Opimize spray... basically ears have just taken a hammering, its hardly surprising they are ringing!!... solution... trying to lead a stress free life, somewhat difficult during a pandemic!! Acceptance... if you fight it the ringing gets louder!!

I know it's hard .I had ear op left side over 20 years ago due to ear infections nose bleeds as child I had preopen for ear op March retracted perforated eardrum but cancelled poor Dr cannot help but health getting worse on antibiotics again had loads don't help as eardrum is very thin

No ent clinics opened

Yes, it would be helpful. You need to narrow it down and could use some help.

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