Tinnitus is a medical condition often described as hearing ringing in your ears that no one else can hear. For some people the noise can be more like buzzing, clicking, whistling, or a whooshing sound. If you have ringing in your ears, know that you are not alone. The first step to getting help is to see your healthcare provider.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is having ringing or another sound in your ears when there is not outside noise to cause it. This condition can be temporary or long term. Tinnitus is usually a sign of another underlying auditory problem with the ear, the auditory nerve, or the part of the brain that processes sound.  Tinnitus occurs more often in older adults and may be linked to age-related hearing loss. Tinnitus also can be a symptom of other health conditions.

Tinnitus symptoms

  • Hearing noises that others do not hear

  • Noises can include ringing, hissing, crickets, whooshing, buzzing or music

  • Pulsing sound in beat with the patient’s heart

Diagnosing and treating tinnitus

As tinnitus can be related to hearing loss due to age, there is no known cure for the condition. There are ways to manage tinnitus. As each individual is different, it can take a few approaches to find some relief. 

Some treatment options are:

  • Overall wellness

  • Hearing aids

  • Behavior therapy

  • Medications

  • Sound therapy

In some cases tinnitus can be related to obstructions in the middle hear, such as excessive ear wax, dirt, congestion or foreign objects. Sometimes, removing the blockage can relieve symptoms. However, the blockage also can cause permanent damage.

Tinnitus also can be related to:

  • Head and neck trauma

  • Joint disorders

  • Sinus pressure

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Other diseases and medical conditions