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

Exclusion of liability

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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