Can tinnitus be caused by an infection?

Can tinnitus be caused by an infection?

Yes, tinnitus can be caused by an infection. Infections that affect the ear, such as otitis media (middle ear infection) or otitis externa (outer ear infection), can cause tinnitus as a symptom. Infections that affect other parts of the body, such as sinusitis or meningitis, can also cause tinnitus as a secondary symptom.

In some cases, tinnitus can be caused by a viral infection, such as herpes simplex virus or cytomegalovirus. These viruses can damage the auditory nerves or other parts of the ear, leading to tinnitus. In rare cases, tinnitus can also be caused by a bacterial infection, such as Lyme disease.

It’s important to note that while infections can cause tinnitus, there are many other possible causes of tinnitus as well, such as exposure to loud noise, age-related hearing loss, certain medications, and underlying medical conditions. If you’re experiencing tinnitus, it’s important to see a healthcare practitioner to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

The most common causes of tinnitus include:

  1. Noise-induced hearing loss: Exposure to loud noise, such as from music concerts, gunfire, or heavy machinery, can damage the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to tinnitus. Age-related hearing loss: As we age, our hearing naturally deteriorates, and this can lead to tinnitus.
  2. Earwax buildup: Excess earwax can block the ear canal, leading to tinnitus.
  3. Medications: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, and some antidepressants, can cause tinnitus as a side effect.
  4. Medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, Meniere’s disease, and thyroid disorders, can cause tinnitus.
  5. Head and neck injuries: Injuries to the head or neck, such as from car accidents or sports injuries, can cause tinnitus.
  6. Jaw misalignment: Misalignment of the jaw or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can cause tinnitus.


It’s important to note that the underlying cause of tinnitus may not be identified in many cases. However, addressing certain risk factors, such as reducing exposure to loud noise and managing stress levels, may help reduce the severity of tinnitus symptoms.

Can tinnitus be caused by an infection? faq - Ear Clinic

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