Learn About Ailments | Tinnitus


Tinnitus is a loud and persistent sound heard in one or both ears that has no external source. The sound is most commonly a ringing noise, but can also be described as hissing, whistling or buzzing. Tinnitus is a symptom caused by ear infections, injury or a blockage in the ear from wax or a foreign object.

In This Article
Did you know? Causes of tinnitus
Symptoms of tinnitus Diagnosis of tinnitus
Related terms

  • Over 2 million people in the UK have moderate or severe tinnitus
  • 10% of the UK population experience episodes of tinnitus

Tinnitus is commonly caused by damage to the cochlea. Nerves in the ear send impulses from the cochlea to the auditory system in the brain which then interprets different sounds. When these nerves become damaged, abnormal impulses are sent to the brain which interprets them as the various noises associated with tinnitus (e.g. ringing, buzzing etc.).

In young people, excessive noise results in damage to hearing and in the elderly natural hearing loss desensitises the hearing nerves. Other common causes of tinnitus include:
  • excessive ear wax
  • ear infections
  • glue ear
  • Ménière's disease (problems with balance)
  • otosclerosis
  • anaemia
  • pierced ear drum
Other rarer causes of tinnitus include:
  • a sudden loud noise (explosions, gun shot)
  • impacted wisdom tooth
  • head trauma
  • drug reaction
  • drug abuse
  • alcohol abuse
  • high blood pressure
  • hyperthyroidism
  • tumours
  • circulatory problems

The main symptom of tinnitus is a distracting noise in the ear which can be continuous or intermittent. Common sounds heard by tinnitus sufferers include ringing, hissing, whistling, buzzing, rushing and roaring.

Some people experience a musical tone while others become sensitive to the sounds around them such as the radio or television even when the volume is at a normal level.

In the first instance you should visit your GP who will then refer you to an ear disorder specialist (known as an Otolaryngologist).

As tinnitus is a symptom rather than a condition in itself, the specialist will attempt to identify the underlying cause through a series of tests including:
  • X-ray
  • balance test
  • blood test
  • hearing test
  • CT scan or
  • MRI scan

Ear problems
Hearing loss
Inner ear

Therapies to consider
Ear Candling Energy Healing Herbal Medicine
Hypnotherapy Indian Head Massage Naturopathy
NLP Physiotherapy Reiki
Remedial Massage

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