I can’t say for sure when I first heard the ringing in my left ear as I only become conscious of it when sitting doing nothing in particular. It does not affect my sleep, nor my day- to- day hearing, so it is difficult to pinpoint a time when it started but I am determined that it will not unduly affect me.
It is however quite a common problem, affecting about 15 to 20 per cent of people. It is especially common in older adults and can be caused by a number of factors such as hearing loss, an ear infection or ear canal blockage, head or neck injuries or some medications.
It can be brought on by loud noise exposure, age, tobacco and alcohol use or certain health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure and a history of arthritis or head injury. Men are also more likely to experience tinnitus.
It is important to see a doctor if you develop tinnitus after an upper respiratory infection if it doesn’t improve within a week, and also if you have hearing loss or dizziness or if you are experiencing anxiety or depression as a result of your tinnitus.
As for me, I have said before that I must be the oldest student in Edinburgh – every time I go home I get a lecture! I should maybe add that as a possible cause!