Have you ever experienced ringing, buzzing or hissing in your ears? If so, you are not alone. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that more than 25 million Americans experience this condition – known as tinnitus.


Tinnitus is a common problem that affects an estimated 15% to 20% of people and is especially common in older adults. Patients with this condition report constant irritation due to the persistent sound


Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury, or a problem with the circulatory system.


For many people, tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause or with other treatments that reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.


Tinnitus is most often described as a ringing in the ears, even though no external sound is present. However, tinnitus can also cause other types of phantom noises in the ears, including:


  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Hissing
  • Humming


Most people with tinnitus have ‘subjective tinnitus’ which is tinnitus that only they can hear.


Tinnitus noises may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it that it interferes with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may always be present, or it may come and go.


In rare cases, tinnitus can occur as a rhythmic pulsing or whooshing sound, often in time with your heartbeat. This is called ‘pulsatile tinnitus’. If you have pulsatile tinnitus, your doctor may be able to hear your tinnitus when they do an examination.


Most healthcare providers don’t know precisely what causes tinnitus. One commonly held belief is that abnormal activity in the part of the brain responsible for processing sound may be responsible. They do not know how or why that is, or how the activity can be prevented.


EPIC doctors have found that tinnitus is usually caused by an atlas misalignment that affects cranial nerves. The atlas is the top bone in the spine, and its displacement can disrupt blood flow to the brain and cranial nerves.


Tinnitus is a symptom of more than 75% of all disorders that affect our ears. Most people who have hearing loss also have tinnitus.


Here are some ways people develop hearing loss that causes tinnitus:


  • Aging – Age-related hearing loss affects 1 in 3 adults over age 65.
  • Exposure to loud noises or explosions – This can happen over time or from a single incident. Exposure to very loud music or work done in a noisy environment can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Ototoxic medications – There are a wide range of medications that can damage your ears. If you’re concerned about tinnitus, ask your healthcare provider about medication side effects and alternatives.
  • Ménière’s disease – This chronic ear disorder affects your balance and hearing.


You can have tinnitus without hearing loss. Providers link tinnitus to roughly 200 different health conditions such as:


  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) – Tinnitus is a common symptom of TMJ, a condition caused by inflammation or irritation of the muscles and joints.
  • Foreign objects lodged in your ear – Objects like pens, pencils and Q-tips can accidentally rupture eardrums.
  • Excessive earwax (cerumen) – Earwax can block your ears and affect your hearing.
  • Allergies – Congestion from allergies can affect your Eustachian tube and keep sound from getting through your ear canal.
  • Vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma) – This benign (non-cancerous) tumor affects the nerves that connect to your brain and manage balance and hearing.
  • Otosclerosis – This is a growth in your middle ear.


Rarely, you may have tinnitus when your blood rushes through the major arteries and veins in your neck. This kind of tinnitus involves sound timed to your pulse or ‘pulsatile tinnitus’.


Pulsatile tinnitus may happen because you have anemia (reduced red blood cell flow) or atherosclerosis (blocked arteries).


People who have high blood pressure (hypertension) are more likely to develop pulsatile tinnitus than people who have normal blood pressure.


Tinnitus in one ear may be a sign you have a middle ear tumor (glomus tympanicum).


Tinnitus, along with trouble walking, speaking, or balancing, may be a sign that you have a neurological condition. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any such signs.


Protecting your hearing is one of the best ways to avoid tinnitus. Start protecting your ears by thinking about all your regular activities.


You may not realize all the ways you expose your ears to loud noises and sounds. Here are some potential activities that may affect your hearing:


  • Your workplace (you may work in construction, landscaping or around loud machinery).
  • Exercise class (many gyms play loud music) .
  • Concerts and movie theaters.
  • Earbuds with the volume turned all the way up (protect your ears by keeping the volume low).


At EPIC, we treat the top bone of the spine, called the atlas. If it is out of position, many conditions, including tinnitus can occur and often, the body is prevented from processing and healing such ailments.


When you arrive for your EPIC appointment, we will perform a consultation and examination to determine if your atlas is out of position. If we determine it to be, we will take a specific set of X-rays and then run the information through spinal engineering software.


This tells us how far your atlas is out of it’s proper position, with accuracy down to the millimeter, and exactly what we need to do to correct it.  


We will then perform a painless sound wave-based adjustment that will put your atlas back in place, relieving many of the conditions often found to be responsible for tinnitus.


If you or anyone you know suffers from tinnitus, call us today to set up a free consultation. The results may be life-changing!