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What causes tinnitus? Scientists and health experts don't know the exact physical cause of tinnitus, but several sources are known to trigger or make it worse, including: Loud noises and hearing loss – Exposure to loud noises can destroy the non-regenerative cilia (tiny hairs) in the cochlea, causing permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Aging – As you age, those same cilia gradually deteriorate, which can lead to tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Ototoxic medications – Some prescription medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and antidepressants are harmful to the inner ear as well as the nerve fibers connecting the cochlea to the brain. Hearing conditions – Conditions such as otosclerosis and Ménière’s disease are known to cause tinnitus. Health conditions – Tinnitus can also be a symptom of health conditions like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stress and head injuries.
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