Symptoms and Signs of Tinnitus

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 11/12/2021

Doctor's Notes on Tinnitus

Tinnitus is an abnormal sensation in the ear that can be due to a number of different diseases and conditions. Tinnitus may be described as a:

  • buzzing,
  • ringing,
  • clicking,
  • humming,
  • roaring, or
  • pulsating noise.

It can occur in one or both ears and may be intermittent or constant. Tinnitus can arise from disturbances in any part of the ear. Some of the possible causes of tinnitus include muscle spasms, Meniere’s disease, problems with the temporomandibular (TMJ) joint, damage to the nerves of the ear, increases in blood flow, or trauma to the head or ear.

Symptoms and signs associated with tinnitus are variable and depend on the exact cause. Other symptoms can include:

What Is the Treatment for Tinnitus?

Treatment for tinnitus depends on the underlying cause of the problem:

  • Medications used to manage the symptoms or underlying conditions may include:
  • Surgery is the recommended treatment for tumors or structural abnormalities that cause tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy is a form of treatment that aims to retrain the nerve pathways associated with hearing, which may allow the brain to get used to the abnormal sounds of tinnitus.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.