What is a Tinnitus Headache?

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  • Written By: M. Haskins
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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Tinnitus, sometimes called "ringing ears" because sufferers hear constant or recurring abnormal noises, is a relatively common condition that affects about one in five people between the ages of 55 and 65. One possible tinnitus symptom is tinnitus headache. This is usually a temporal headache, meaning it occurs in the temporal area of the skull, located around the temples. The bones in this area cover the middle ear and inner ear where the body's hearing organs are located. A tinnitus headache is ultimately caused by tinnitus, and if that underlying condition is cured, the headaches will usually also disappear.

There are many different conditions that can cause both tinnitus and the related headache. Some are minor while others can be life-threatening. Common causes of tinnitus are exposure to loud noises, excessive earwax buildup or some other obstruction in the ear canal, ear infection or ear inflammation causing swelling or fluid accumulation in the middle ear, and otosclerosis, a disorder affecting the bones of the middle ear. There is a wide variety of other possible causes too, including head injuries, brain tumors, anemia, hypertension, depression and anxiety.


There are also factors that can make a tinnitus sufferer more likely to experience a tinnitus headache. Stress and insomnia are commonly associated with the development of these headaches, and these factors are often thought to be a result of the underlying tinnitus. A much more serious condition that can cause tinnitus headaches is a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage, a bleeding inside the brain, such as a ruptured aneurysm. This is a rare but extremely serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Various pharmaceutical drugs, like certain antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs, can also contribute to tinnitus and a headache.

Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJD, TMD or TMJ, is another possible cause of both tinnitus and tinnitus headache. This is an inflammation of the joint connecting the lower jaw to the skull. The condition causes pain in the joint and can affect the nerves and bones in the surrounding area, as well as the teeth and the hearing organs. Neck and shoulder pain is commonly associated with both this disorder and tinnitus headache.


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Post 4

I have had sinus issues and tinnitus for over a year now. It started with an ear infection. The doctor said it was eustachian tube dysfunction.

It's all linked, I guess, but I've also played music in rock band for eight years, so it could be a number of things. I find relaxation and clearing up sinuses with sinutab helps a bit.

I have tried all sorts, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, homeopath, nasal spray. Some give temporary relief but then the earache comes once in a while and the ringing gets louder. I wish you all the best in your quest. The main thing is to live each day as positively as you can and try keep busy to block it out.

Post 3

@turkay1-- Are you using hearing aids? If not, you might want to ask your doctor about it. There are ones which reduce tinnitus and help treat headaches associated with it.

Post 2

@fBoyle-- If it doesn't go away soon, you should see a doctor, it could be serious.

I know how it is because I have chronic tinnitus headaches. They're so severe and painful that they seem more like migraines than headaches to me. When I first started getting them, I didn't think it was because of the occasional ringing in my ears. I thought it had to do with my sinuses. But my doctor told me that my sinuses are fine and ear problems often lead to headaches.

Meanwhile, we still don't know what's causing my tinnitus. I did have an ear infection but that was treated and tinnitus and headaches are still there.

Post 1

I went to a rock concert three days ago and I've been experiencing tinnitus and tinnitus headache every since.

I've been to loud concerts before and ringing in my ears usually disappear in a day. This is the first time that my tinnitus is also accompanied by a headache.

I've been staying away from loud noises and have been taking pain relievers for the headache. I hope things go back to normal soon, it's unbearable.

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