Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing, buzzing, whooshing or hissing sensation in your ears, but the sound isn’t caused by an external noise. More than 50 million Americans experience tinnitus for a number of different reasons. To determine how to best treat tinnitus, it’s important to understand its symptoms and causes.
Symptoms of tinnitus
There are a number of different symptoms for tinnitus, but the most common include hearing the following sounds:
These sounds are heard only by the person experiencing the tinnitus, but can sometimes be detected by a hearing professional. These sounds can be heard constantly or intermittently. Some people have problems sleeping when they have tinnitus because they feel as though their brain never “shuts off.”
Causes of tinnitus
There are several factors that can cause tinnitus, including the following:
- Exposure to loud noise
- Hearing loss
- Ear infection
- Trauma to the ear
- Earwax buildup
- Meniere’s disease
- Vascular disorders
Tinnitus may be caused by one or more of these conditions and some can be resolved easily if the cause is temporary, such as an infection or a buildup of earwax.