Can Wellbutrin Cause Tinnitus?

Wellbutrin pills

Tinnitus, a condition characterized by a phantom noise heard from within the head or ears and not an external source, affects about 15-20% of individuals worldwide. It may come in a steady hum or pulsating rhythm or be intermittent or ongoing. Although often linked with hearing loss, medications can also cause hearing loss and tinnitus.

In this article, we will discuss the Wellbutrin-tinnitus connection, as well as links to prescription medication, the inner ear, hearing loss, and tinnitus sounds.

Understanding Wellbutrin, Tinnitus, and the Inner Ear

Wellbutrin is an often-prescribed medication for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Its safety and efficacy have been highly lauded; however, it can lead to tinnitus and hearing loss as a side effect in some individuals. This type of hearing disorder may be linked to the impact that Wellbutrin has on the inner workings of the ear, and individuals taking Wellbutrin may begin to notice symptoms of hearing changes.

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Small structures inside of the ear, called hair cells, are tasked with converting sound vibrations into electrical signals for the brain to parse through and ultimately comprehend. Damage to these delicate components can obstruct their ability to relay sounds, leading to hearing loss and both mild and intense tinnitus.

Reports suggest that taking Wellbutrin may affect the delicate inner ear by disrupting dopamine and norepinephrine levels, two neurotransmitters essential for hearing. When these transmitters are substantially altered, this can cause harm to the hair cells in our ears, resulting in chronic tinnitus. The onset of constant ringing in the ears triggers anxiety for some, but chronic tinnitus does not always persist past antidepressants’ use, which can help alleviate some concern.

Is My Tinnitus Caused by Hearing Loss or Wellbutrin?

Tinnitus can arise from a variety of sources, including hearing loss, blood pressure alterations, medications like Wellbutrin, an ear infection or overexposure to loud noise. It is sometimes difficult to accurately identify the root cause since its symptoms are often similar to other communication ailments and it typically arises gradually over time. Although Wellbutrin is a confirmed, safe FDA-approved solution for depression and anxiety relief, it has been known to influence one’s hearing ability. From managing background noise to the unexpected ringing in their ears; acute or chronic tinnitus can be extremely disconcerting – causing those using this medication to seek out other viable options.

If you are struggling with tinnitus, consulting your physician is an important first step. Your doctor may conduct a hearing test to detect any potential hearing impairment and examine the medications you take to determine if they could contribute to the condition. A successful diagnosis will enable them to develop the best treatment plan for your needs, as many medications used to treat mental health conditions have no known or recognized links to tinnitus development.

Can Medications Cause Sudden Hearing Loss or Tinnitus?

Mixture of different pills

Tinnitus can be a result of certain medications, like Wellbutrin; however, it’s uncommon for medication to cause sudden hearing loss. This is because the inner ear has a tight guard against most medicines entering and potentially causing damage. The blood vessels that supply the internal auditory system are tightly regulated to prevent potential harm from drugs or other substances, though even a subtle break to these delicate systems can cause tinnitus.

Medications can cause abrupt hearing loss or tinnitus, in some cases. This is more likely to occur with ototoxic drugs, which are toxic to the ear. For instance, certain antibiotics, NSAIDs, and chemotherapy drugs may be dangerous when taken in high doses either once or over a period of a few months.

Permanent Tinnitus vs. Temporary Ear Ringing

Tinnitus can be either short-term or long-lasting. Short-term tinnitus is typically caused by exposure to too loud noise or acoustic trauma and usually resolves on its own after a few hours or days. Permanent tinnitus may indicate harm done to the hair cells situated within your ears and might also indicate hearing loss.

If you are living with tinnitus, talking to your healthcare provider about potential causes is essential. They might conduct a hearing test and review the medications you’re taking to identify the source of your condition. Early diagnosis is key. If caught early on, treatment can be more effective and successful and eliminate the discomfort anyone who has experienced tinnitus can feel.

Is It Common to Have Developed Tinnitus from Wellbutrin?

Although the chances are very slim, taking Wellbutrin can result in tinnitus. Clinical studies have shown that it may affect 1-2% of people taking the medication. Despite these low odds, it’s essential to be cognizant of all possible side effects of a drug before consuming it, no matter how rare.

Quick Stats On the Wellbutrin-Tinnitus Connection

  • Tinnitus is a rare side effect of Wellbutrin, affecting between 1% and 2% of users.
  • Tinnitus caused by Wellbutrin is thought to be related to its effects on the inner ear.
  • Wellbutrin may reduce levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are important neurotransmitters for hearing function, leading to side effects like ringing ears.
  • If you are experiencing tinnitus, you must consult your doctor to determine the underlying cause, as few cases can indicate a potentially life-threatening condition.

Diagnosing Wellbutrin Tinnitus and Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Woman getting her ears checked by an audiologist

If you are in a situation where tinnitus or hearing loss has become the norm, speaking with your physician immediately is paramount. Your doctor will conduct an auditory test to assess any signs of hearing impairment and determine whether the ringing could be linked to medications such as Wellbutrin. Don’t wait until symptoms worsen; it is worth noting that delayed treatment may not be as likely to be successful.

To identify the cause of tinnitus, your physician may conduct a physical examination, evaluate your medical record, and organize imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans. Through these screenings, it is possible to eliminate any other diagnoses that might be causing ringing in the ears, including exposure to other meds linked to ototoxicity.

What Can You Do If You Think You Have Wellbutrin Tinnitus?

If you’re suffering from tinnitus due to Wellbutrin, there are several approaches you can take to cope with symptoms. The first step is to consult with your doctor, because they may decide to alter your dosage or switch medications altogether.

In addition to medication changes, you can make several lifestyle changes to manage tinnitus symptoms. These include:

  • Avoiding loud noise. Exposure to loud noise can exacerbatve tinnitus symptoms, so it can be useful to avoid exposure to loud music, machinery, and other noise sources.
  • Using white noise. White noise machines can help reduce the perception of tinnitus and make it less noticeable.
  • Managing stress. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms, so it is important to find ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or therapy.
  • Avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine and nicotine. Caffeine and nicotine can worsen tinnitus symptoms, so avoiding or limiting these substances can help limit ringing symptoms.

Does Ear Ringing from Antidepressants Go Away?

While tinnitus caused by antidepressants may resolve itself after the medication is no longer being used, it is possible to linger even after discontinuation.

If you’re struggling with tinnitus because of antidepressants, discussing the matter with your doctor is imperative. They could alter your dosage or shift you from one medicine to another to alleviate those symptoms. Taking charge of treatment options can help improve your overall quality of life and provide relief moving forward, though it is important to do so under the care of a physician, as quitting these medications cold turkey can be hazardous.

Using a Hearing Aid for Hearing Loss and Wellbutrin Tinnitus

Person wearing hearing aids

If you are struggling with Wellbutrin tinnitus, and medication changes are not an option, consider using a hearing aid. It amplifies sounds, allowing you to make the most of your remaining auditory capabilities and making life more manageable and effectively treating tinnitus symptoms.

When it comes to your hearing, selecting the right style of hearing aid is essential. An audiologist can assist you in choosing a model that meets your requirements and provides continual maintenance so that it functions properly. With countless styles available, finding one tailored to your needs doesn’t have to be overwhelming or difficult–just let an expert guide you!

Managing Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Without A Hearing Aid

In addition to hearing aids and a customized sound therapy program, there are several other strategies you can use to manage hearing loss and tinnitus These include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help manage the psychological impact of tinnitus. CBT can help you develop coping strategies and teach you how to manage the anxiety and stress often associated with tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is a type of therapy that can help you acclimate to the sounds associated with tinnitus. TRT involves using sound therapy to reduce the perceived loudness of tinnitus over time.
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a type of meditation that can help reduce stress and anxiety. MBSR can help manage the psychological impact of tinnitus and can help you develop coping strategies for dealing with the condition.

Finding Relief from Tinnitus With a Hearing Aid, Even without Hearing Loss

If you’re looking for a better way to manage tinnitus, even if your hearing is still intact, look no further than a hearing aid! It can be programmed specifically for sound therapy which can help reduce the impact of ringing in your ears and allow you to go about life more easily. With modern technology, they’re more comfortable and discreet than ever before.

If you’re looking for alternatives to hearing aids, several options are available, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy, and mindfulness-based stress reduction, as mentioned above. All of these strategies have proven successful in managing the effects of tinnitus.

Final Tips for Preventing Hearing Loss

Woman meditating

While tinnitus can be a challenging condition to manage, there are several things you can do to help prevent hearing loss and protect your inner ear, including:

Avoid exposure to loud noise. Exposure to loud noise can damage the hair cells in the inner part of the ear and can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus. It is important to avoid exposure to loud music, machinery, and other noise sources whenever possible.

Wear ear protection. If you must be in a loud environment, such as a construction site or a music concert, it is important to wear ear protection, such as earplugs or noise-canceling headphones.

Take breaks from loud noise. If you must be in a loud environment for an extended period, it is important to take regular breaks to give your ears a rest.

Avoid smoking. Smoking can damage the blood vessels in the inner ear, increasing the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus.

Combat your stress. Stress can aggravate tinnitus symptoms, so it is essential to discover techniques for managing stress, such as through physical activity, meditation, therapy sessions or other FDA-endorsed treatments.

Tinnitus is a pervasive issue that can be caused by many different sources, including FDA-approved medications such as Wellbutrin. If you encounter any of the associated symptoms, it’s essential to speak with your doctor and search for underlying factors and feasible treatments. By guarding inner ear health and learning strategies to manage risk factors, tinnitus will become more manageable – allowing you to restore quality of life.

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  1. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (n.d.). Tinnitus. Retrieved from
  2. American Tinnitus Association. (n.d.). Why Are My Ears Ringing? Retrieved from
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2021, May 1). Bupropion (Oral Route) – Side Effects. Retrieved from

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