Do you hear a ringing, roaring, clicking, or hissing sound in your ears? Do you hear this sound often or all the time? Does the sound bother you a lot? If you answer yes to these questions, you may have a common, but treatable hearing problem.
Tinnitus (tin-NY-tus) is associated with many forms of hearing loss. It can also be a symptom of other health problems. Roughly 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus. Some cases are so severe that it interferes with their daily activities – people with severe cases may find it difficult to hear, work, or even sleep.
Most people who experience telltale ringing symptoms also have some kind of hearing loss.
Exposure to loud noise can cause temporary ringing or hearing loss. Continued exposure can make both conditions permanent.
More than 200 medicines, including aspirin, can cause tinnitus. If you have these symptoms and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved.
Allergies, tumors, problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck can cause tinnitus.
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, hearing care professionals, scientists and doctors have discovered several treatments that may give you some relief. Not every treatment works for everyone, so you may need to try several to find the ones that help. Treatments include:
Most people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing aids create a dual benefit of enhancing hearing and masking or covering up the symptoms. The majority of patients experience partial or complete relief with the use of hearing aids.
People with constant ringing or other unwanted noise may experience anxiety, depression and other psychiatric problems. You may be referred to a psychiatrist or counselor as needed.
Learning how to relax is very helpful if the noise in your ears frustrates you. Stress makes the symptoms seem worse. By relaxing, you have a chance to rest and better deal with the sound.