What are the symptoms of tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head when no external source is present. In many cases, it can be a symptom of other conditions, such as hearing loss.

 

Learn more about the main causes of tinnitus and what you can do about it.

What are the signs of tinnitus?

The symptoms of tinnitus include noises in the ears or head that can sound like:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Humming
  • Whooshing
  • Whistling

The symptoms of tinnitus can vary depending on the underlying causes of the tinnitus and its severity. The phantom noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go intermittently.

What can tinnitus be a symptom of?
Tinnitus causes

What are the symptoms of severe tinnitus?

Tinnitus is rarely a sign of a serious underlying condition, but in the case of severe tinnitus, sounds can be so loud that they interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear actual, external sounds. When it lasts more than six months, it's known as chronic tinnitus.1

Please consult an ENT or hearing care professional if you are concerned about your tinnitus or if it is affecting your daily life.

Signs and symptoms of different types of tinnitus

Subjective
This is when only you can hear the tinnitus sounds. This is the most common type of tinnitus.
Objective
This is when the tinnitus is audible to another person as a sound emanating from the ear canal. Usually, it is caused by a vascular disorder or muscle contractions.
Pulsatile
This is when you (and sometimes your doctor) can hear sounds that are in sync with your heartbeat. This is the rarest type of tinnitus.

Can tinnitus be a symptom of hearing loss?

Tinnitus and hearing loss are closely linked. An estimated 90% of people who experience tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss.2

Hearing aids can be a great help for people with tinnitus. When you hear better, your brain is given more sound information to process, just as it is supposed to have.3 Hearing aids help process the sound in a natural way so that you can listen with less effort. Many hearing aids today also come equipped with soothing tinnitus relief sounds

Hearing aids for tinnitus Tinnitus causes

Tinnitus relief can be an emotional relief

We know tinnitus can be mentally taxing,4 especially because other people may not experience it themselves or understand what it’s like to live with it. Since stress can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms, it can become a vicious cycle.

Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms and take charge of your well-being. If your tinnitus is due to hearing loss, modern hearing technology can be a great help for you.

Learn about the helpful remedies for tinnitus:
Tinnitus treatment

If you experience sudden onset of hearing
loss or tinnitus, contact an ENT doctor today.

Sources

1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/tinnitus-ringing-in-the-ears-and-what-to-do-about-it

2. https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/hearing-loss-tinnitus-statistics

3. https://www.oticon.global/hearing-aid-users/blog/2020/all-about-tinnitus

4. Fetoni, A. R., Lucidi, D., De Corso, E., Fiorita, A., Conti, G., & Paludetti, G. (2016). Relationship between subjective tinnitus perception and psychiatric discomfort. The international tinnitus journal, 20(2), 76-82.