Tinnitus | Overview

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What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a problem that causes you to hear a noise in one ear or both ears. People commonly think of it as ringing in the ear, but it also can be roaring, clicking, buzzing or other sounds. Some people who have tinnitus hear a more complex noise that changes over time. You may hear the noise constantly, or it may come and go.

In most cases, people who have tinnitus hear noise in their head when no outside sound is there. This type of tinnitus is called “subjective tinnitus.” It can happen because certain nerves are not functioning normally or because there is a problem with part of your ear. In rare cases, tinnitus is caused by an actual sound that occurs inside or near the ear, such as from nearby blood vessels. This type of tinnitus is called “objective tinnitus.”

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/11
Created: 10/09

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