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(Ringing in the Ears)

Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears) Quick Overview

  • Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, swishing, clicking, or other type of noise that seems to originate in the ear or head rather than from an external source.
  • Tinnitus is not an illness itself but a symptom of other conditions, such as
  • The main symptom of tinnitus is hearing sound in your ears that is not due to an external source that no one around you can hear. The noise is often described as ringing, buzzing, clicking, or rushing. Hearing loss and dizziness may occur if the tinnitus is due to Meniere's disease.
  • Because tinnitus is due to other conditions that may require medical treatment, it should be evaluated by a doctor, especially if the tinnitus is only on one side, is sudden, or is associated with hearing loss.
  • Treatment of tinnitus depends upon the cause and may include medications, stress reduction techniques, biofeedback, lifestyle changes, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), masking devices, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Home remedies are generally not recommended for tinnitus because they may not address the underlyng cause.
  • The best way to prevent some cases of tinnitus is to avoid damage to your hearing, such as loud noise exposure. For many other causes there may be no way to prevent the accompanying tinnitus symptoms.
  • There is currently no cure for most cases of tinnitus. Symptoms of tinnitus may come and go over time, and if you have had tinnitus it's likely it will recur. While it may be annoying, most people can learn to cope with it. Stress, diet, and noise exposure may worsen symptoms.

How do you pronounce tinnitus?

Tinnitus is pronounced tih-NIGHT-us or TIN-ih-tus.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/25/2015

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears):

Tinnitus - Experience

Please describe your experience with tinnitus.

Tinnitus - Medical Treatment

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Tinnitus - Effective Treatments

What kinds of treatments have been effective for your tinnitus?

Tinnitus - Causes

What was the cause of your tinnitus?

Why are my ears ringing?

Causes of tinnitus symptoms

Tinnitus is a ringing, swishing, clicking, or throbbing sound in the ear when no external sound is present. Some of the causes of tinnitus are:

  • Infection
  • Trauma to the ear
  • Aging
  • Loud noise exposure
  • Some medications
  • Diseases such as Meniere's syndrome, brain tumors, or a brain aneurysm

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Inner Ear, Tinnitus »

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the head or the ears.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary