When Your Ears Are Ringing: Possible Causes You Should Know About

If one day you wake up and suddenly hear a high-pitched ringing noise in your ears, you may find yourself just hoping that it is temporary and that it will go away as soon as possible. However, if the ringing seems to persist or even gets worse, the hope changes to frustration and wonder about the possible cause of your ringing ears. Get to know some of the conditions that can cause your ringing ears so that you can better prepare yourself for a trip to an ear nose and throat doctor and get the treatment and help that you need to try to overcome your newfound hearing troubles.

A Sinus and Ear Infection

One of the more common conditions that can cause ringing sound in your ears is a sinus infection as well as an ear infection. These two different infections can occur separately or simultaneously and one of the less well-known symptoms of these conditions is clogged and ringing ears.

The congestion that goes along with these two conditions is the result of inflammation and swelling. This added pressure can cause parts of your ear to not function properly and leads to difficulty hearing and ringing.


Tinnitus is perhaps the most well-known cause of ringing ears. This condition may be caused by ear infections but can also have many other reasons behind it. Tinnitus means that you are hearing sounds that have no external cause including ringing, hissing, or clicking. 

Many people, particularly those over 60, experience tinnitus because it becomes more frequent with age. The most common cause of tinnitus is damage to the tiny hairs on the cochlea in the inner ear. The damage occurs naturally with age and is more likely with exposure to loud noises (especially frequent exposure). However, some tinnitus can be caused by heart conditions, tumors, or diabetes as well).

TMJ Arthritis

Believe it or not, there are some cases of ear ringing that can have a cause that has nothing (directly) to do with your ears. Instead it may be the result of a condition elsewhere in the head or face.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) arthritis is one such condition. This disorder affects the joint in which your lower jaw attaches to the temporal bone of your face. Arthritis is an inflammatory disease that leads to swelling, inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joint. And because the joint is right next to your ears, it can sometimes be the cause of ringing or other issues with your hearing as well. Anti-inflammatory medications and treatments for the arthritis could possibly reduce or get rid of your ear ringing.

Now that you know some of the possible causes for the ringing in your ears, you can head to the ear nose and throat clinic to get checked out and ensure that you are doing everything you can to get rid of that pesky sound you keep hearing.