Tinnitus (pronounced ti-ni-tis), or ringing in the ears, is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. The noise can be intermittent or continuous, and can vary in loudness. It is often worse when background noise is low, so you may be most aware of it at night when you're trying to fall asleep in a quiet room. In rare cases, the sound beats in sync with your heart (pulsatile tinnitus).
Tinnitus is very common, affecting an estimated 50 million...
Tinnitus is not a disease. It's a problem in your hearing system. It's usually not a sign of anything serious, though you should see your doctor to get it checked out.
What Your Doctor Needs to Know About Tinnitus
How tinnitus affects your life is important for diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor may ask:
What are your symptoms?
Do the symptoms make it hard to concentrate, sleep, or work?
Has tinnitus caused relationship problems or made it hard to do daily tasks?
Loud noises and aging are common causes of tinnitus. A health problem, such as thyroid imbalance or high blood pressure, can also cause it. So can earwax, if it blocks the ear canal. Some medications may also trigger tinnitus. Sometimes, there is no clear cause.
When you meet with your doctor, be ready to answer questions like these:
Have you had any long-term exposure to loud noises, including at work?
Have you been exposed to an extremely loud noise, such as an explosion?