What Can Cause Tinnitus in One Ear?

Unilateral tinnitus, often known as tinnitus in one ear, is frequently caused by pressure or damage to the eardrum or ear canal. There are numerous potential causes for it.

A ringing sound in your ears is called tinnitus. In the US, 11.2% of persons suffer from tinnitus.

Continue reading to discover the most typical causes of tinnitus in one ear, its symptoms, and how to get it diagnosed and treated.

Symptoms of tinnitus in one ear

One ear that is always ringing, hissing, or roaring is the most typical sign of unilateral tinnitus. Environmental noise may also be the cause of your tinnitus or exacerbate your symptoms.

What causes tinnitus in one ear only?

The most frequent reasons for tinnitus in a single ear are listed below.

Ear wax impaction

When earwax becomes dry or compacted tightly within your ear canal, it can cause earwax impaction, also known as blockage. Using cotton swabs or other similar tools to push earwax too deeply into the ear is frequently the cause.

By not cleaning your ears with cotton swabs, you can avoid earwax impaction.

Acoustic trauma or chronic noise exposure

When loud noises cause damage to your eardrum, it's known as acoustic trauma. It may impact one ear or both. If loud noises are something you are frequently around, you may be in danger.

Ear protection, such as earplugs, can help lower your chance of developing tinnitus.


A tumour that appears behind your eardrum is called a cholesteatoma. Certain individuals are born with the growths, which eventually turn into cholesteatomas. However, cholesteatoma risk may also rise with repeated infections.

Ear infections should be treated as soon as possible to avoid cholesteatomas.


Otosclerosis is the result of abnormal shape changes in the ear's bones and structures over time. Pregnancy, illnesses, and injuries can raise your chance of developing this illness. Moreover, it may run in families.

Otosclerosis cannot be prevented.

Chronic otitis media (ear infection)

Otitis media, or chronic ear infections, can result in swelling that damages the eardrum or traps fluid in the middle ear. Chronic otitis media is a condition that can be brought on by allergies, colds, or getting fluids caught in your ears.

To help avoid ear infections, colds and allergies can be promptly treated.

Ruptured eardrum

Your eardrum may burst due to an ear infection or trauma, resulting in tinnitus.

Meniere disease

When there is an abnormally high level of fluid in your inner ear, you have Meniere illness. In addition to tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss are probable. Although the exact cause is unknown, specialists think that genetics, allergies, and autoimmune diseases could be involved.

Semicircular canal dehiscence

When a bone canal in your inner ear is excessively thin or doesn't shut, it might cause semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS). This illness may be inherited by you or may develop as a result of an infection or accident.

Additional signs and symptoms could be:
  • pressure-induced vertigo
  • heart changes
  • autophony, or the feeling that your voice is resonating in your ears or is excessively loud
SCDS may be avoided by treating ear infections and averting head trauma.

Brain stem infarction

When oxygen to the brain stem is cut off, the tissues in the brain stem die, leading to a brain stem infarction (stroke).

As you age, you are more likely to suffer a stroke, particularly if you have high blood pressure or atherosclerosis.

Strokes may be avoided by doing the following:
  • eating a healthy diet
  • exercising regularly
  • reducing or giving up alcohol and cigarettes

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

A disorder of the nerve system called multiple sclerosis (MS) can result in tinnitus, exhaustion, and trouble moving. Your risk factors include smoking, obesity, and autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes.

Although MS cannot be prevented, early diagnosis and treatment can help you manage your symptoms.

Brain tumor

Your head and ears may feel more pressured if you have a brain tumour. Though it can affect either ear, tinnitus usually affects the one nearest to the tumor's growth.

Not every brain tumour is malignant. However, even benign brain tumours have the potential to worsen headaches and impair brain function. Moreover, they may result in vascular lesions such as:
  • narrowing of a passage (stenosis)
  • atypical vessels
  • aneurysm
Reducing your exposure to radiation and hazardous chemicals may help avoid brain tumours.

When to contact a doctor

If you have tinnitus in one ear that interferes with your life or impairs your hearing, see a doctor. If you experience symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, or hearing loss, get medical attention right away.

Diagnosing the underlying cause

In addition, your physician might recommend that you get tested by a specialist like a cardiologist or otolaryngologist. To assess the structures inside your ear or head, a doctor may also utilise audiograms, CT, MRI, or X-rays.

Treatment of tinnitus in one ear only

The following natural therapies and pharmacological interventions may be able to help you alleviate tinnitus in one ear only.

Medical treatment

Among the medicinal interventions addressing the underlying causes of unilateral tinnitus are:
  • medications for vertigo
  • antidepressants
  • antibiotics
  • prescription ear drops
  • surgery

Home remedies

The following natural treatments could be used to treat tinnitus in one ear:
  • irrigating the ears, but only if the tympanic membrane is unbroken
  • practising stress reduction
  • getting regular sleep
  • listening to white noise or music
  • wearing earplugs, even if for some people these may exacerbate symptoms

Can tinnitus go away?

Treating the underlying cause of tinnitus can make it go away. However, tinnitus brought on by serious medical conditions or injuries may be challenging to manage.


One or both ears may be affected by tinnitus. If you experience tinnitus along with other symptoms that impact your general health, it's best to get in touch with a doctor.

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