Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) can be caused by a number of medications, including some antidepressants. Not all antidepressants cause tinnitus. If your antidepressant is the cause of your tinnitus, switching to another medication may solve the problem, but don't quit taking your medication without medical guidance.
Antidepressants are a less common cause of tinnitus than are other types of medications — such as aspirin, anti-inflammatories or some antibiotics — or underlying health conditions.
Causes of tinnitus include prolonged exposure to noise, blood vessel disorders, diabetes, allergies and other medical, neurological or mental health problems. While caffeine has traditionally been thought to be associated with tinnitus, some research has found higher amounts of caffeine to be associated with a lower risk of tinnitus in some people. Tinnitus also can be caused by age-related hearing loss or a buildup of wax in the ear.
You'll need to work with your doctor to determine whether your antidepressant or something else is causing your tinnitus. Your symptoms may go away when the underlying cause is treated.
If the underlying cause isn't clear — or treatment doesn't help — you may benefit from a device similar to a hearing aid that may help mask the ringing. A change in medication, counseling or certain relaxation techniques also may help you cope with tinnitus.
Oct. 07, 2020
Get the latest health information from Mayo Clinic’s experts.
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing
Our Housecall e-newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest health information.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
See more Expert Answers
- Henderson MC, et al. Tinnitus. In: The Patient History: An Evidence-Based Approach to Differential Diagnosis. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed May 9, 2018.
- Dinces EA. Treatment of tinnitus. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 9, 2018.
- Sertraline. Micromedex 2.0 Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed May 9, 2018.
- Paroxetine. Micromedex 2.0 Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed May 9, 2018.
- Dinces EA. Etiology and diagnosis of tinnitus. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 9, 2018.
- Tinnitus. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/tinnitus. Accessed May 10, 2018.
- Glicksman JT, et al. A prospective study of caffeine intake and risk of incident tinnitus. The American Journal of Medicine. 2014;127:739.