Frequently asked questions
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus ("TIN-a-tus" or "Tin-EYE-tus") is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears or head when no external sound is present. In most cases, tinnitus is a subjective noise, meaning only the person experiencing it can hear it. Typically, people describe the sound as "ringing in the ears," though others describe it as hissing, buzzing, whistling, roaring and even chirping. Tinnitus can be sporadic or constant, with volume ranging from subtle to debilitating.
What causes tinnitus?
The most common cause is exposure to loud noise — though head injuries, medications, earwax, and assorted other conditions are suspected of causing tinnitus.
How common is tinnitus?
According to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), 50 million individuals in the United States experience tinnitus to some degree, or nearly 1 in 6 people.
Is there a known cure for tinnitus?
Currently, there is no known cure for tinnitus: nothing has been shown to actually make the sound stop. However, there are ways to manage tinnitus and provide relief. The ATA recommends that anyone with tinnitus should see a hearing professional about tinnitus.
Is there a connection between hearing loss and tinnitus?
While tinnitus does not cause hearing loss, it can – for obvious reasons – impede hearing. And in many cases, tinnitus and hearing loss are diagnosed together, as both can result from noise-induced damage to the ears.
Can hearing aids help with my tinnitus?
Amplification with hearing aids can bring relief to people experiencing tinnitus, as they may boost ambient sounds that can help take the focus off of tinnitus.
What should I do if I have tinnitus?