Getting to the Bottom of It: Can an Ear Infection Cause the Onset of Tinnitus

Getting to the Bottom of It: Can An Ear Infection Cause the Onset of Tinnitus?

Both ear infections and tinnitus are common conditions. During childhood, five in six children will experience at least one ear infection before they turn three. However, ear infections are less common in adults but can nonetheless occur at any age. As for tinnitus, one-third of children and about 10% of adults in the U.S. will experience the condition.

Because both tinnitus and ear infections involve the ears and can both temporarily affect hearing, some may wonder if an ear infection can lead to tinnitus. The answer is yes and no. Read on for a deeper explanation.

How Ear Infections Can Trigger Tinnitus

Tinnitus can be caused by a plethora of different things. However, inflammation in the ear due to a middle ear infection may also lead to ringing in the ear (tinnitus). In addition, excess wax in your ear canal(s) can lead to an infection and, in turn, may cause tinnitus as well.

Generally, the things that can cause an ear infection can also cause tinnitus as well and vice versa. That said, the ear infection itself may not cause the sensation of ringing in your ears, but rather, the thing causing the infection to begin with.

Do All People Who Get an Ear Infection Also Get Tinnitus?

Fortunately, not everyone who experiences an ear infection will necessarily develop temporary or even permanent tinnitus. Likewise, one can experience tinnitus without having ever had a previous ear infection.

For many, tinnitus is a symptom of an ear infection. However, if one develops just tinnitus, the only symptom they have is ringing or buzzing; an ear infection is not a symptom of it. But if the sufferer notices nausea, dizziness, earache, vomiting, balance problems or difficulty walking, and/or feeling as if the room is spinning, they may have also developed an ear infection.

As mentioned, the two can most definitely co-occur together and, usually, the tinnitus will disappear after the infection is gone. In some cases, the sufferer may continue to deal with tinnitus even when the infection has disappeared.

Other Causes of Tinnitus

Ringing in the ear can be caused by things other than simply a middle ear infection. This may include excess ear wax, hearing loss due to old age, anemia or high blood pressure triggering changes of blood flow, Meniere’s disease, exposure to loud noise, TMJ, stress, migraines, a ruptured eardrum, or certain medications. In rare cases, tinnitus may be caused by a tumor.

The good news is, if you’re suffering from tinnitus, there are various treatment approaches to pick among, including hearing aids with tinnitus treatment capabilities. Please speak with a medical professional today if you’re experiencing ringing, swooshing, buzzing, or other unusual aural perceptions.


With both ear infections and tinnitus being such common complaints, it’s no surprise that the two conditions are known to often occur together. On the bright side, both conditions can be treated, and while there is no known cure for tinnitus, it may simply be a temporary case or something that can be aided with treatment.

In the end, if you’re experiencing either or both conditions, reach out to a doctor for proper diagnosis and possible treatment.

Similar Posts