What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is when a person experiences ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears.

The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound, and other people usually can’t hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. However, tinnitus can also be described as other types of “noises” in your ears, including:

Tinnitus can vary in pitch from very low pitch to a high-pitched squeal. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it interferes with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may be constant or intermittent. Tinnitus usually lessens when there is noise in the room and gets louder and more prevalent in quiet.

Most people who have tinnitus have subjective tinnitus (that only the patient can hear). It is rare for a patient to have objective tinnitus (one that others can hear). In rare cases, tinnitus can occur as a rhythmic pulsing or whooshing sound, often in time with your heartbeat. This is called pulsatile tinnitus and needs to be evaluated by a physician.
Tinnitus can be caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related or noise-related hearing loss, an ear injury, or a problem with the circulatory system. For many people, tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause or with other treatments that reduce or mask the noise (hearing aids), making tinnitus less noticeable.
Several health conditions can cause or worsen tinnitus. If you are experiencing tinnitus or changes in your tinnitus, it is important to see a Doctor of Audiology for a hearing and tinnitus evaluation to determine the best course of action for the patient.

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