Ringing in the ears or tinnitus is the disturbing sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, or whistling sounds. A very common disorder, many people recognize the symptoms most when background sounds are low. Estimated to affect 50 million Americans, it does not necessarily tie to a hearing loss and may vary from slightly annoying to extremely disturbing.
Up to 90 percent of those with tinnitus have had prolonged exposure to loud noises, which can lead to permanent damage to the sensitive calls of the cochlea in the inner ear. Other treatable causes of tinnitus can include a blockage of ear wax, an ear infection, or a benign tumor near the auditory nerve.
Other causes may include medications including aspirin, some antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, antidepressants and other prescription medications. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, Meniere’s Disease or injuries to the head or neck can include tinnitus among other symptoms.
If you experience ringing in the ears, schedule an appointment with one of our ENT providers for an examination to determine the likely cause. While there is no cure, there are treatments available to help mitigate the impact of the symptom.