New Health Guide

Ringing in Left Ear: Causes and Treatments

Feb 03, 2015

Many people complain about experiencing an occasional ringing, hissing, roaring, tinkling, or buzzing in their ears. It may often feel as if you're hearing water running, air escaping, or musical tones. Even though the sound continues for a few minutes only, it can still be quite annoying and distracting. This usually happens due to a condition called tinnitus in which you hear a ringing sound that no one in your surrounding can hear. The sound may be constant or it may only occur occasionally. It may even keep time with your breathing or heartbeat. It can be ringing in left earonly or it may affect both ears. People older than age 40 are more susceptible to tinnitus.

What Causes Ringing in Left Ear?

The exact cause of left ear ringingis still not clear, but certain problems can cause ear noises.

1. Living or Working in Noisy Environment

Regular exposure to loud noises, such as those from chain saws or heavy equipment may result in hearing loss in some people. The excessive use of high volume with portable music devices such as iPods or MP3 players may also lead to noise-related hearing loss and cause tinnitus as well.

2. Injuries and Diseases

Certain diseases and disorders such as Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder caused by excessive inner ear fluid pressure, or TMJ disorders caused by any problems with the joint on the side of your head. Acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor development on your cranial nerve, may also cause tinnitus. Certain head or neck injuries can affect your hearing nerves, inner ear, or brain function linked to hearing. This head trauma may also cause ringing in left earonly.

3. Blood Vessel Issues

A blood vessel disorder may also cause sudden ear ringing.Tinnitus caused by blood vessel issues is known as pulsatile tinnitus. Some of the most common causes include a tumor in the neck or head that presses on blood vessels, turbulent blood flow caused by kinking or narrowing of a neck artery, hypertension, or malformation of capillaries can result in tinnitus. Similarly, an excessive buildup of cholesterol or other deposits may clog blood vessels close to your inner ear and lead to tinnitus – it is called atherosclerosis.

4. Medications

The use of certain medications may cause or worsen tinnitus. Often, the ringing in left eargoes away when you stop using those medications. Some of the most common medications responsible for tinnitus include antibiotics such as erythromycin, neomycin, and vancomycin; cancer medications such as vincristine and mechlorethamine; Quinine medications used for malaria; water pills such as furosemide, ethacrynic acid and bumetanide; and aspirin, especially when taken in abnormally high doses. Certain antidepressants can worsen the symptoms of tinnitus.

5. Other Causes

  • Hearing loss in elderly people: Hearing loss is a common issue for people older than 60 years of age. Hearing loss at this age may be accompanied with tinnitus. This type of hearing loss is usually known as presbycusis.
  • Ear blockage: Sometimes, a blockage in your ear, usually caused by excessive earwax, may irritate the eardrum or cause hearing loss, which can also lead to tinnitus in some cases.
  • Changes in ear bone: You may face hearing loss or other issues due to the stiffening of the bones in your middle ear. This condition often leads to tinnitus.

What Should I Do If I Have Ringing in Left Ear?

It is best to visit your primary care doctor to ensure the ringing in left earis not due to earwax or anything else that may cause a blockage. Your doctor will consider your medical history and ask about any medications you may be using.

You may have to visit an otolaryngologist (an ENT) if your primary care doctor fails to make a diagnosis. The ENT will perform a physical examination and test your hearing to confirm if you've lost any hearing as well. Sometimes, you may have to see an audiologist who will measure your hearing and help evaluate the severity of your tinnitus.

How Can Ringing in Left Ear Be Treated?

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

The therapy uses specific techniques such as cognitive restricting and relaxation to alter your views about tinnitus. This also explains how you can grapple with your current situation and avoid being in a situation that could cause depression. By opting for CBT, you may learn how to cope with the sound, which will stay the same but will become less bothersome. Remember, CBT is only a short-term measure and is conducted in weekly sessions for a couple of months, but it usually improves your quality of life.

2. Masking

A masking device, or a masker, resembles a hearing aid but plays a pleasant sound into the ear and reduces the perception of tinnitus. You can buy a specialized masking device or may consider having a fan, radio, or white-noise machine on in the background. You may have to experiment a bit to identify what type of a sound can help mask out your tinnitus.

3. Biofeedback and Stress Management

Tinnitus is quite stressful and it is obvious to find yourself under stress while trying to cope with the whole situation. Biofeedback, a relaxation technique, may help change bodily responses and make stress more manageable. It involves attaching electrodes to your skin and receiving information about physiological processes such as skin temperature, pulse, and muscle tension. You will learn how to change these processes to alter how your body responds to stress and depression.

4. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

CBT is a behavioral therapy, whereas TRT is more of a habituation therapy in which you will learn how to combine sound enrichment and tinnitus retraining to reduce any stress you have due to the tinnitus sound. Certain types of noise generators are used in TRT to provide background noise and to make the tinnitus sound less noticeable. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, you may have to undergo a Tinnitus Retraining Therapy for a year or two before you see positive results.

How Can I Prevent Ringing in Left Ear?

It is hard to deal with tinnitus, but you can take some steps to prevent it in the first place.

  • Keep the volume levels of your radio, TV, and portable music players low. You should also wear ear protection if you're working in an environment with noises louder than 85db.
  • Consult with your doctor if you think certain medications may cause ring in left year.
  • Be more active in your daily life to enjoy a better cardiovascular health. Paying attention to your diet and doing cardiovascular exercises will help keep blood vessels healthy and prevent ringing in left ear.