Hearing loss, built-up earwax and certain medications can cause tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, according to WebMD. There are many other possible causes, including ear infections, rupture of the eardrum and dental problems.
Certain injuries, such as whiplash or blows to the head, may cause tinnitus, according to WebMD. Contributing factors may also include severe weight loss or neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis or migraine headaches. Vascular disease such as carotid atherosclerosis, arteriovenous malformations and hypertension may also be underlying causes. Additional diseases that can lead to tinnitus include acoustic neuroma, anemia, labyrinthitis, otosclerosis and thyroid disorder.
There are two types of tinnitus, says Mayo Clinic. The most common is subjective tinnitus, in which sufferers perceive noise where none exists. Subjective tinnitus sufferers may perceive phantom ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing. These noises may resemble anything from a low roar to a high squeal. In the disease's less common form, objective tinnitus, a physician can hear the troublesome noise when examining the ear. Tinnitus affects about 20 percent of the population.
Intermittent tinnitus does not require treatment, according to WebMD. A doctor's visit is recommended if the ringing does not go away on its own or is present in only one ear.