What Is Tinnitus?

Though the common misconception about tinnitus is that it’s a disease, tinnitus is actually a medical condition characterized by persistent ringing in one or both ears that can only be heard by the affected individual.

Many who suffer from tinnitus describe the annoying sound as ringing in the ear, but a whistling, hissing, buzzing, or pulsing sound is also possible. For some, these sounds come and go. But most are not that lucky, and will experience symptoms 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

These phantom sounds may cause only a slight annoyance, or they may severely disrupt everyday life. The American Tinnitus Association estimates more than 50 million Americans suffer from at least occasional bouts of tinnitus.

What Causes Tinnitus?

There are a number of causes, with the most common being exposure to loud noise. In this case, your hearing may be temporarily or permanently damaged, depending upon the intensity and duration of the sound.

We can’t always tell whether your temporary damage will become permanent, but tinnitus is usually representative of an inner-ear problem. Tinnitus research is ongoing, and the mechanisms that cause tinnitus in the brain and inner ear are being more closely studied. Some possible causes are:

Loud noises can be a cause of tinnitus

Exposure to loud noise

Some medications can be a cause of tinnitus

Certain medications

Diet can be a cause of tinnitus


Head Trauma can be a cause of tinnitus

Head trauma

Stress can be a cause of tinnitus


Blockage can be a cause of tinnitus

Eardrum blockage

Jaw joint disorders can be a cause of tinnitus

Jaw joint disorders

Hearing Loss can be a cause of tinnitus

Hearing loss

In rare cases, tinnitus may be caused by a blood vessel disorder, resulting in pulsatile tinnitus. This type of tinnitus may be caused by a head or neck tumor, a buildup of cholesterol in the circulatory system, high blood pressure, turbulent blood flow, or malformation of the capillaries surrounding the ear. The result is a tinnitus that sends out pulsing signals in conjunction with the flow of your heartbeat.

Is There a Cure?

There is currently no cure for tinnitus; however, there are ways to manage your tinnitus and help reduce its affect on your daily life. Management techniques are successful approximately 90% of the time. We will work with you to find the best possible solution for your needs.

What Are the Treatment Options for Tinnitus?

Diagnostic testing by an audiologist and a medical evaluation by an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician will rule out possible medical factors that could be causing or contributing to your tinnitus. Because your tinnitus symptoms are personal and unique in nature, an in-depth evaluation will help us create a specialized treatment plan for you.

Although there isn’t a cure for tinnitus, our audiologists have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with treatment methods that can help lessen the impact that tinnitus has on your life. In many cases, the distressing combination of tinnitus and hearing loss can be relieved with appropriate amplification.

There are a number of treatment options, including:

AGX Hearing TechnologyAppropriate Amplification: A good treatment for those who experience hearing loss; thereby improving overall hearing ability and eliminating the perception of ringing.

Sound TherapySound Therapy: The use of external sound to decrease the perception of ringing.

Cognitive behavioral therapyCognitive Behavioral Therapy: A type of counseling that helps to change the body’s emotional reaction to tinnitus by altering negative thought patterns and helping to relieve stress.

Tinnitus Tesimonials

Hear what others have said about Albrecht Audiology and how we approach Tinnitus.

  • I knew from a young age that I had a hearing loss, but it was my three year struggle with intense tinnitus that brought me to Albrecht Audiology. As a result of hearing aids and the expert advice from Dr. Bethaney Tessitore, my quality of life improved substantially For the first time in years, I am able to get a full night’s sleep without the piercing ringing in my ears, I can now hear discussions without straining myself and social activities are more enjoyable. As a result, I feel well rested, less frustrated and calm. As an added bonus, I adjusted to wearing hearing aids faster than wearing my glasses. They are comfortable and undetectable to my friends.

    Thank you so much

    Lisa H.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there medications for tinnitus?
You will find many herbs and supplements on the internet that claim to reduce tinnitus. None of them are FDA approved. Although a small number may claim to have reduced ringing due to these “remedies,” the success rate is no better than a placebo. Some recommended supplements may even be detrimental to your health.
Can tinnitus be cured?
Current research by neurologists suggests that altering certain areas of the brain that respond to sound — or a lack thereof — may provide relief. Experiments have also been done to regrow hair cells. The regrowth of hair cells help to restore hearing. This prevents the brain from attempting to fill the void left by lack of hair cells. This, in turn, may reduce tinnitus. Both theories are likely years away from clinical trials, which means a greater period of time until any possible cure hits the market. Curing tinnitus may be possible, but likely not in the near future.
Can tinnitus be directly measured?
Rarely. There is a form of tinnitus referred to as “objective tinnitus” that your doctor can hear. This is typically the result of a blood vessel problem, an inner-ear bone condition, or muscle contractions.
Does tinnitus cause hearing loss?
No. Tinnitus is a symptom of any number of conditions, including hearing loss.
Why is tinnitus worse at night?
In our daily lives, sounds around us typically mask tinnitus to some degree. At night, when things are quiet, there’s less noise and fewer mental distractions. If your tinnitus is stress related, it’s also possible that the cumulative stress of your day has made your symptoms worse.