AARP Eye Center
Many of us have suffered from occasional ringing in the ears or, perhaps, noticed extra wax buildup or itchiness in our ear canal. Typically, these are minor issues that go away with time, but occasionally, they can be indications of something more serious that requires a visit to the doctor.
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Many ear-related problems become more pronounced with age, including ringing in the ears, otherwise known as tinnitus. This is usually related to wax buildup or exposure to loud noises. These conditions are often exacerbated with age, and age-related hearing loss explains, in part, why tinnitus is so prevalent among older people, according to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA).
Prescription medications can also cause the condition temporarily, although some drugs can cause permanent tinnitus, according to the ATA. These include nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), some antibiotics and cancer drugs.
Tinnitus could also be related to a more serious issue, such as problems at the joint where the jawbone meets the skull, known as the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, WebMD reports. It could also indicate an injury to your neck or head, among other things.
People who consistently hear ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing sounds should consider a visit to their doctor.
Earwax blockages increase with age. While blockages affect only 5 percent of healthy adults, 57 percent of nursing home residents suffer from the condition, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).