Why Are My Ears Ringing? - SightMD Skip to main content

September 12, 2022

By: Gerri Competiello, AuD

Why Are My Ears Ringing?

A man holding his ears in pain

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the medical term for a ringing or buzzing noise in the ears. Most people refer to tinnitus as “ringing in the ears.” However, you may hear more than just ringing. Although you hear sounds in your ears, there’s no external sound source. If you have tinnitus, you may also hear:

  • roaring
  • buzzing
  • whistling
  • hissing

You may experience tinnitus in one or both ears. While it’s more common in older adults, people of all ages can develop tinnitus.

What are common causes of Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be caused by a number of things from certain medications to a variety of health problems. Your physician will take a detailed history of your health and medications, perform a thorough examination and possibly order a hearing test or conduct other tests of the auditory system.

Possible causes of tinnitus include:

  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Earwax buildup
  • Abnormal bone growth in the ear
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Stress and depression
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Benign tumor of the cranial nerve
  • Certain medications

In some cases, the exact cause of the tinnitus may not be found but serious underlying conditions can be ruled out.

When To See An Audiologist About Tinnitus

It is important to find out the underlying condition causing your tinnitus. If you experience the following tinnitus symptoms, you should see an audiologist:

  • When the tinnitus is only in one ear
  • When the sound is affecting your quality of life
  • When the sound starts suddenly or changes in volume or duration
  • When the sound is accompanied with hearing loss or dizziness
  • When it sounds like your heartbeat.

What are the treatment options for tinnitus?

While tinnitus can resolve on its own, it’s often treated by addressing the underlying condition. Depending on the individual case, some tinnitus treatments may include:

  • Hearing aids
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
  • Acupuncture
  • Hypnosis
  • Music and sound therapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Phone apps

It is important to note that there is not one treatment that will work for everyone. Hearing aids are one of the most widely recommended treatments because they can be equipped with sound masking features, enabling the individual to block out the tinnitus sounds. In general, tinnitus treatments may not make the tinnitus disappear completely, but they often can make it less noticeable and ease your stress and anxiety from it. Speak with your hearing professional about the best tinnitus treatment option for you.

How can I prevent tinnitus?

First and foremost the best and easiest way to prevent tinnitus along with preventing hearing loss is to protect your ears and hearing when exposed to loud noise especially when exposed to it for a long period of time. That means when at work, if you work in a loud work environment, you should always be wearing hearing protection. When going to concerts, watching live sporting events or watching fireworks you should wear hearing protection. For that matter any place or environments that you are in and may be exposed to excessive loud noise wear a form of hearing protection. When listening to music through headphones or earbuds do not have the volume at max.

Having your hearing health isn’t something you should put off. Contact SightMD today to Make an appointment with an audiologist at SightMD as soon as you can at one of our seven long island locations.