Ringing in ears (Tinnitus)

Dr. Abhishek GuptaMBBS

December 24, 2018

March 06, 2020

Ringing in ears
Ringing in ears

What is Ringing in the Ears?

The symptom of ringing in the ears is medically termed as tinnitus and refers to hearing an abnormal or unusual ringing or buzzing sound in one or both the ears without an external cause. This sound could seem like a roar, click, or hiss. It may be soft or loud. However, tinnitus is not a disease and is very commonly reported by several individuals.

What are the main associated signs and symptoms?

Tinnitus itself is a symptom that indicates an abnormality in the hearing system.

Tinnitus is usually described as hearing a ringing sound in one or both ears. An individual may also describe the sound as:

  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Whistling
  • Vague buzzing

Some individuals may report the ringing to be loud, while it could be a very faint sound for a few individuals. However, in tinnitus, the sound is surely not coming from an outside source. It may be experienced for a few minutes or a longer duration.

What are the main causes?

Tinnitus tends to be a more common occurrence in the elderly, and it can affect both males and females. There can be multiple causes of tinnitus:

  • Ear infection.
  • Sinus infection.
  • Hormonal changes.
  • Thyroid abnormalities.
  • Injury to the ear.
  • Fatigue.
  • Blocking of the ear canal due to ear wax deposition.
  • Intake of certain medications.

In older individuals, tinnitus may be the first sign of hearing loss.

Individuals working in a noisy environment, such as factories and musical events, may develop tinnitus either for a short period or as a persistent symptom of noise-induced hearing loss.

Tinnitus may also appear as a symptom of depression and other mental illnesses.

Being very common, it may also happen due to no apparent reason.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

To diagnose or determine the cause of tinnitus, the doctor may conduct a hearing test and inquire more about the kind of sound one is hearing. Scanning and imaging tests, such as CT and MRI, may also be done to detect any signs of injury. Otoscopy using an instrument to look inside the ear may be done to check for any foreign body in the ear.

Usually, the ringing in the ears disappears by itself and requires no special treatment. However, if there is a specific cause, treatment may be needed accordingly.

Medication may be given to treat any blood vessel injury or reduce stress-related tinnitus. For hearing loss, hearing aids may be given.


  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Tinnitus.
  2. National Institutes of Health; National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; Tinnitus.
  3. Healthdirect Australia. Tinnitus. Australian government: Department of Health
  4. Byung In Han et al. Tinnitus: Characteristics, Causes, Mechanisms, and Treatments. J Clin Neurol. 2009 Mar; 5(1): 11–19. PMID: 19513328
  5. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Tinnitus.
  6. National Organization for Rare Disorders [Internet]; Tinnitus.

Medicines for Ringing in ears (Tinnitus)

Medicines listed below are available for Ringing in ears (Tinnitus). Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Lab Tests recommended for Ringing in ears (Tinnitus)

Number of tests are available for Ringing in ears (Tinnitus). We have listed commonly prescribed tests below:

Related Articles

Ask your health query from live doctors now!