Can a melanoma that spreads to the brain ever cause tinnitus?

The brain is one of the first places that a melanoma tumor metastasizes to.

This can result in a variety of symptoms.

Tinnitus is the so-called ringing in the ears that affects many people and that has a multitude of causes.

“When melanoma spreads, it has certain places that it prefers to spread to,” says Dr. Steven Musick, MD, a board certified dermatologist who runs Musick Dermatology, LLC, in Swansea, IL, which provides state-of-the-art medical and surgical care for all disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

“Those places are the skin near where the melanoma was removed, lymph nodes, lungs, liver and brain.

“When melanoma spreads to the brain, it can cause a wide array of symptoms depending on what parts of the brain that the melanoma lodges and grows in.

“Certainly it could cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears), but melanoma would not be a common cause of this symptom.”

In fact, if you develop tinnitus, it is enormously far more likely to be caused by aging, very recent exposure to loud noise, hearing loss, earwax buildup, stiffening of the inner ear bones, TMJ disorder, abnormal inner ear fluid pressure, head congestion, loose hair in the inner ear canal, sinus infection, head or neck trauma, thyroid disease, diuretics and antibiotics, hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure.

If melanoma were to ever cause tinnitus, the mechanism would be the tumor pressing on blood vessels in the head.

The sound in this case would be pulsing in nature, most likely in synch with your heartbeat.

It would not be the continuous high frequency tone of hissing, fizzing or buzzing that’s so characteristic of more common (and benign) causes of tinnitus.

Steven Musick, MD

Steven Musick, MD

Since 2008 Musick Dermatology & Advanced Clinical Spa has been providing state-of-the-art medical and surgical care for all disorders of the skin, hair and nails.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
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