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I have been having tinnitus and also smell cigarette smoke but am not around any when I smell it.What could be the cause? Thanks

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replied March 24th, 2011
Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Answer A21214
Hi, welcome to the ehealth forum and I am glad to help you.
You seem to be perturbed by the smell of ciggrette smoke and also you are suffering from tinnitus.
There are a few causes for phantosmia(the perception of an odour when there is none also known as olfactory hallucinations), but one of the most common and well-documented involves brain injury or seizure activity in the temporal lobe. Those with lesions in the temporal lobe, often brought about by a stroke or from trauma to the head, also experience these olfactory hallucinations. Other leading causes of phantosmia include neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Phantosmia can also be attributed to overactive olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) or the loss of inhibitory neurons brought on by a sinus infection or some other type of cold.
Tinnitus is not a disease; but a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes. The most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss, resulting from exposure to excessive or loud noises. Conditions causing conductive hearing loss like external ear infection, acoustic shock, subwoofers, cerumen(earwax) impaction, middle ear effusion can lead to subjective tinnitus.TMJ disorder can also present with tinnitus. Large no. of drugs are known to cause tinnitus as a side effect like aspirin, aminoglycosides e.g. gentamicin,chloramphenicol,erythromycin,te tracycline,tobramycin,vancomycin, vibramycin,furosemide,chloroquine etc.
You must consult a neurologist and/or ENT specialist for thorough evaluation of your case and definitive diagnosis as the same cannot be made online.
Hope this helps. Take care.
Note: This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

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