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Cervical tinnitus

Neck pain and ringing in the ears

Can neck problems cause tinnitus? Learn the causes, symptoms and treatments

In this article, discover how neck problems can be related to tinnitus. If you are experiencing ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears, visit a hearing care professional at Miracle-Ear for a consultation to find the best treatment option. 

Can neck problems cause tinnitus? Yes. Cervical tinnitus can cause ear whistling, ringing and neck problems. Learn more.

What causes cervical tinnitus?

The neck is one of the most vulnerable points in the human body, and neck pain is a common concern. When you have tinnitus, you can often experience neck tension as well. This tension starts in your neck (also called the cervical spine) and can affect the function of your cranial nerves, triggering ear ringing. There are many causes of cervical tinnitus; the most common are:

  • Cold snaps resulting in a stiff neck
  • Incorrect posture
  • Previous traumas
  • Whiplash injury
  • Stress
  • Arthritis in the cervical vertebrae
  • Lifting heavy loads during physical activity
  • Sleeping in the wrong neck position

Sometimes trauma to the spine, for example, getting hit or falling on your back, can cause fluid in your ear (also called labyrinth fluid) to change pressure which can lead to cervical tinnitus. Another form of ringing you experience in your ears is often caused by muscles in your middle ear tensing up and sending false information up the nerve pathway. If this happens, the nerve groups responsible for hearing send signals to the brain, and the brain reacts to this overstimulation of the nerve groups, which can trigger tinnitus and make you feel dizzy.

When you speak to a specialist, they can help you understand what type of tinnitus you are experiencing and help you take the appropriate next step.

Pulsatile tinnitus is another example of neck problems and ringing in the ear. When you experience pulsatile tinnitus, what you feel can result from poor circulation to the blood vessels and arteries in your head, especially those close to the ear. This poor circulation can be caused by a number of issues that can limit blood flow to the cranial nerves.

Moreover, any trauma to the head and neck could favor the onset of pulsatile tinnitus, confirming the connection between the two conditions. Other causes of pulsatile tinnitus can be attributed to noise pollution. In particular, listening to music with earphones or the prolonged intake of drugs such as antibiotics could also favor the onset of rhythmic pulsations.

When dealing with cervical tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus or tinnitus resulting from a fall or injury, these should all be seen by a physician prior to seeing a hearing care specialist.

A less common cause of tinnitus is cervical spondylosis. Cervical spondylosis is a chronic (long-term) disorder due to the wear of the joints that connect the vertebrae at the neck. It often is a consequence of arthritis in the neck area. Some of the most common symptoms include dizziness, weakness, numbness and hearing loss. With cervical spondylosis, the bone growths may compress the vertebral arteries, resulting in tinnitus.

Tinnitus can also be a symptom of cervical stenosis. Cervical stenosis occurs when the spinal canal is too small for the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves. This can cause pressure on the nerve groups responsible for hearing, which can trigger tinnitus.

Find tinnitus relief today

If you're experiencing tinnitus, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or hearing instrument specialist about how you can best manage the symptoms.

Cervical tinnitus treatment

Once you've been diagnosed with cervical tinnitus by a health specialist, it is good to know that it can be treated and resolved, solving the root of the issue and thus also intervening in neck pain. If your cervical tinnitus is due to posture or other physical concerns, working with a physician or physiotherapist can help resolve your pain.

Other recommended treatments include massages targeting localized pain, which are especially helpful with muscle spasms and neck exercises for tinnitus. If you are still experiencing persistent pain, consider discussing drug therapies with your doctor. To find out the nature of your tinnitus, consider taking a free hearing test at your nearest Miracle-Ear center.

Rehabilitative gymnastics is one of the most tested and effective remedies for cervical tinnitus. It must be performed with the support of an osteopath, a physiotherapist or a professional in the sector. During a session, these professionals will help you relax your contracted muscles which can help significantly reduce your pain.

Another solution may be transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, therapy with low-voltage electrical currents to help treat your pain. If you choose this therapy, small sticky pads will be attached to your skin, and you will feel a tingling sensation. This type of therapy can help your muscles relax and ease your pain.

Massages and physiotherapy can help you reduce the stress and tension in your cervical nerves. Physiotherapy and trigger point massages on the neck can help reduce stress and accumulated tension by relieving muscle tension and reducing pressure on cervical spine nerves. However, before taking matters into your own hands, consult an expert; the wrong exercises could aggravate symptoms instead of improving them.

Sound enrichment is a neurophysiological technique that tells our brain to ignore tinnitus, classifying it as harmless noise. How does it work? In practice, our brain can catalog sounds and define background noise as harmless; if they are low and at the right sound level to conduct enrichment therapy which helps reduce tinnitus by stimulating hearing steadily and emitting nature-based sounds, such as the sound of a stream, waterfall, or rain. In some cases, this can even make the ringing in the ears disappear.

This type of treatment may be recommended to you by your healthcare professional in conjunction with other treatments as it is minimally invasive. 

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Explore our hearing aids

Another treatment option is a hearing aid for tinnitus. These hearing aids produce a sound that masks the sound of tinnitus. Discover Miracle-Ear product range of hearing aids and get advice on the best ones for you according to your specific needs!

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