Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What could be causing my tinnitus, and is it getting worse?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat could be causing my tinnitus, and is it getting worse?


For the past 2 and a half weeks I've been having a mild ringing in my ears, sounding much like an electrical hum. I have an impacted molar due to my wisdom teeth and an exposed root, and am unsure if there is any correlation. Today I had worked in the heat, and afterward I was seeing stars. Twice today I've had high-pitched ringing in my ears. I've also been very emotionally stressed and anxious. I'm worried that the tinnitus may be worsening, but am unsure if the problem lies simply from physical exertion from the heat and/or stress. I have no health or dental insurance, but am hoping to be accepted into Covered California after the first of the year.


Sorry to hear about your stress and other problems, and hope that you are feeling better. I recommend that you speak with your doctor to be evaluated. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a common problem that can be frustrating for doctors and patients. In most cases, a clear reason for the ringing is not identified, although it can be associated with hearing loss and other common problems. As you suggest, it can also be exacerbated by stress, jaw pain/tension, and other common problems. In most cases, treating those other problems seems to help the ringing in the ear. This lets us know that there is a mental component to this ringing, in that your brain seems to be able to control a large amount of the sound and also how bad it affects you. Therefore, some of the most effective medications and treatments work by relaxing the mind in one way or another. For some, white noise can be effective, while others may need more intense therapy. There are other things that can cause tinnitus as well, and a hearing test is an appropriate start to determining the cause of your problem, after an appropriate physical exam and health history/review of symptoms. Please speak with your doctor.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.