Causes of Tinnitus in the Elderly

Tinnitus is a common condition that affects people of all ages, but research shows that it is more prevalent in the elderly population. Tinnitus is characterized by a persistent ringing, buzzing, or humming sound in the ears that can be recurring or continuous. The causes of tinnitus in elderly individuals may be different from those in younger people due to a variety of factors such as age-related hearing loss, medication use, and underlying health conditions. This introduction will explore the various factors that contribute to tinnitus in elderly populations.

Protecting Your Ears Is Key

Tinnitus is a condition that causes a ringing, buzzing, or humming sound in the ears. It affects millions of people worldwide, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. One of the main causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noises. As we age, our hearing becomes more sensitive, and this can make us more susceptible to tinnitus. Therefore, it is crucial to take steps to protect our ears.

Wear Earplugs

If you work in a noisy environment or attend concerts or other loud events, wearing earplugs can help prevent tinnitus. Earplugs reduce the amount of sound that reaches your ears, which can help prevent damage to your hearing.

Turn Down the Volume

Listening to music or watching TV at a high volume can damage your hearing and lead to tinnitus. Therefore, it is essential to turn down the volume and take regular breaks.

Medications and Supplements

Certain medications and supplements can help reduce tinnitus symptoms. However, it is crucial to speak to your doctor before taking any new medication or supplement.

One important takeaway from this text is that protecting your ears from loud noises is key in preventing tinnitus, especially as we age. This can be done by wearing earplugs, turning down the volume, and avoiding loud environments. Additionally, managing stress and anxiety through techniques such as relaxation and cognitive-behavioral therapy can also help improve tinnitus symptoms. Certain medications, supplements, and herbal remedies may also be helpful, but it is important to consult with a doctor before taking any new substances.


Antihistamines are often used to treat allergies, but they can also help reduce tinnitus symptoms. They work by blocking histamine, which can cause inflammation in the ear.


Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to tinnitus sufferers to help reduce anxiety and depression, which can worsen tinnitus symptoms.

Zinc Supplements

Zinc is a mineral that has been shown to help reduce tinnitus symptoms. It is thought to work by reducing inflammation in the ear.

The Role of Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can worsen tinnitus symptoms, but there are ways to manage these factors.

Protecting your ears from loud noises is key to prevent tinnitus, especially for the elderly. Wearing earplugs, turning down the volume, and avoiding loud environments are practical ways to manage tinnitus symptoms. Relaxation techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and regular exercise can also help reduce stress and anxiety that may worsen tinnitus. In addition, certain medications and supplements such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and zinc supplements can alleviate tinnitus symptoms.

Relaxation Techniques

Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve tinnitus symptoms.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help tinnitus sufferers manage their symptoms. It focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that can worsen tinnitus.

Practical Tips for Managing Tinnitus Symptoms

There are several practical tips that can help manage tinnitus symptoms.

Use White Noise Machines

White noise machines can help mask the sound of tinnitus and make it easier to sleep at night.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Therefore, it is essential to avoid or limit these substances.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for managing tinnitus symptoms. It is recommended to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Avoid Loud Environments

Avoiding loud environments can also help prevent tinnitus. This includes avoiding construction sites, using noise-cancelling headphones in noisy environments, and avoiding loud music or movies.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a herbal supplement that has been shown to help reduce tinnitus symptoms. It works by improving blood flow to the ear.


Biofeedback is a technique that can help tinnitus sufferers learn to control their body’s response to stress. It involves using sensors to monitor your body’s responses and then learning to control them.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve tinnitus symptoms.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet can also help manage tinnitus symptoms. This includes eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and avoiding processed foods.

FAQs – Causes of Tinnitus in Elderly

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an external stimulus. It is often described as ringing, buzzing, hissing, or humming sound in the ears. Tinnitus can be temporary or persistent and affect one or both ears.

What are the most common causes of tinnitus in elderly?

The most common causes of tinnitus in the elderly include age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, medications that can damage the inner ear, and health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, earwax buildup, ear infections, and head or neck injuries can also lead to tinnitus.

How does age-related hearing loss cause tinnitus?

Age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, occurs when the hair cells in the inner ear start to deteriorate over time. These hair cells are responsible for detecting sound waves and transmitting them to the brain. As they become damaged, the brain receives fewer sounds, which can cause the perception of tinnitus.

Can medications cause tinnitus in the elderly?

Yes, some medications can cause damage to the inner ear, leading to tinnitus. These medications include anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, diuretics, and chemotherapy drugs, among others. It is important to always read the labels and discuss any concerns with a healthcare professional before taking medications.

How can exposure to loud noises lead to tinnitus?

Exposure to loud noises, whether from work or recreational activities, can cause damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. This damage can result in the perception of tinnitus. Elderly individuals who work in loud environments or attend loud concerts or events may be at a higher risk of developing tinnitus.

Can tinnitus be cured?

Currently, there is no known cure for tinnitus. However, there are treatments available that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment options may include sound therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, or a combination of these approaches. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment approach for individual needs.