About This Condition
Rarely, tinnitus is due to an actual sound, such as blood rushing through an enlarged vein—a problem that requires medical treatment. More commonly the problem is due to nerve irritation from an unknown source or an underlying ear problem often induced by noise damage. The cause of tinnitus should be diagnosed by a doctor.
Symptoms may include hearing buzzing, roaring, ringing, whistling, or hissing sounds. These sounds may be intermittent, continuous, or pulsing. Tinnitus may interfere with normal activities and sleep, and there may be an associated decrease in the ability to hear conversation or other sounds in the environment.
Treatment is typically directed at any underlying medical condition. In some cases, doctors recommend the use of a tinnitus masker, which is a hearing device that produces a sound that is more tolerable than the tinnitus. In addition, doctors may suggest the use of earplugs in the presence of loud noises to prevent damage to the ear.