Tinnitus

More than a third of people occasionally hear noises in their ears for which there doesn't seem to be an outside source.

Overview

More than a third of people occasionally hear noises in their ears for which there doesn't seem to be an outside source. If these noises don't disappear on their own after a while, a doctor should be consulted. Tinnitus retraining therapy can help for chronic cases.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Thumping, tapping, buzzing or hissing
  • Whistling, squeaking, ringing
  • Whooshing, whizzing

The noises can vary from person to person. The most common symptom of chronic tinnitus is a high-pitched ringing.

Other symptoms

  • The noise is always there or only appears at specific times
  • The sound is constant, pulsing, or gets louder and softer
  • The quality of life can be affected, especially if the sounds within the ear are loud

Tinnitus can spontaneously stop for a while or disappear completely at any time.

Causes and treatment

Causes

In many cases, however, the cause remains unclear.

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Hearing test (audiometry)
  • Blood test (search for infection)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
Possible therapies
  • Cortisone tablets
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy comprises four areas:
    • Explanation of disease
    • Psychological counselling
    • Relaxation methods
    • Use of devices that produce sounds to mask the tinnitus

What can I do myself?

  • Wear ear protectors
  • Give your ears some rest without any noise

When to see a doctor?

  • Tinnitus isn’t an emergency, but a doctor should be consulted reasonably quickly
    • The noises heard in the ear are accompanied by sudden deafness
    • Severe dizziness occurs at the same time
    • The noises in the ear don't disappear on their own

Synonyms

Tinnitus

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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