Tinnitus is a condition when someone hears ringing, buzzing, hissing or roaring in one or both ears. The sound may get louder or softer during movement or exercise. It may also interrupt sleep. A conservative estimate is that 10% of adults have the condition and many don’t even mention it to their physicians. Certain patterns of tinnitus (such as pulsatile or clicking) may merit a specific evaluation.
Tinnitus may be caused by damage to cells in the inner ear caused by loud noises, some medications, head or neck injuries and certain diseases. Tinnitus is more common in women and becomes more common with aging. Tinnitus is difficult to cure but there are treatment options.
There are wearable masking devices available as well as hearing aids. Amplifying the outside sounds can make the inner noise of tinnitus less bothersome. A tinnitus expert can help train you to ignore the sound and biofeedback may make the sound less annoying or stressful. Listening to quiet music or a white noise machine can achieve a lesser degree of masking
Depression is common in people with tinnitus; there are good treatments for depression as well as for tinnitus. Long-term tinnitus is unlikely to go away completely but with help can be less bothersome.
More information: American Tinnitus Association.