Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease – there are many possible causes. Inside the ear are tiny hair cells that convert the sounds you hear into signals the brain can understand. If some of these hair cells are damaged, the brain receives fewer signals. Research suggests that our brain tries to compensate for the missing signals by producing a new sound in their place. This is the most common reason for the sounds that people with tinnitus hear in their heads.
There are many reasons why hair cells may be damaged – the natural ageing process, exposure to loud sounds or sudden impact noises are common ones. However, tinnitus can also be caused by a reaction to certain medicines, neck or head injuries, or other untreated medical conditions. You should always consult a physician or hearing professional first if you are experiencing the symptoms of tinnitus