Hearing health services
Otherwise known as “ringing in the ears,” tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a persistent sound when there is no source of that sound nearby.
That sound can take a number of forms: ringing, hissing, buzzing, roaring, even whooshing.
It isn’t a medical condition, per se, but it is a sign that there is a problem elsewhere.
Tinnitus can result from:
- Onset of sensorineural hearing loss, in which hair cells of the inner ear begin to die
- Trauma to the head that damages hair cells, causing them to send “phantom” signals
- Inner ear damage caused by exposure to loud noises
- Stress and even certain medications
You’re probably experiencing some mild tinnitus, such as the lingering sound one seems to hear after a loud concert or sporting event; that sort of tinnitus tends to resolve itself after giving the ears a period of rest. But more serious tinnitus, caused by injury or long-term exposure to loud noises can remain constant.
In those cases, the only solution is management of the tinnitus. That can be done in several ways:
- Devices that mask the tinnitus sound with another, less distracting sound (e.g., white noise)
- Hearing aids that, by enhancing the sound of your natural environment, effectively drown out the tinnitus
- Behavioral therapy and, in some cases, medicine