Tinnitus is a very common health problem, affecting an estimated 50 million U.S citizens in some shape or form. Unfortunately, it’s also an issue that many people don’t go to get treated by an audiologist.

The first step to finding the right treatment for tinnitus is to spot the symptoms, especially as it’s a condition that nobody else will know about until you tell them about it. The following advice on the symptoms of tinnitus is vital.

Subjective versus objective tinnitus

Tinnitus is defined as the brain’s perception of sound in the absence of an external sound source. It often stems from the brain’s desire to fill in the gaps when you can’t hear any external noises. Tinnitus is broken into two main areas; subjective tinnitus describes sounds that nobody else can hear while objective tinnitus describes a situation in which an audiologist can pick up the sounds using a stethoscope.

Fewer than one percent of tinnitus cases are objective.

What are the various sounds associated with tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that is most commonly characterized by hearing sounds that are not provided by an external sound source. This can occur infrequently or on a continued basis. It can also affect one ear or both ears, simultaneously and separately.

People may experience a wide range of different sounds and may hear contrasting sounds from one bout of tinnitus to the next. The most common sounds reported by tinnitus are:

  • Buzzing
  • Chirping
  • Clicking
  • Grinding
  • Humming
  • Popping
  • Ringing 
  • Roaring
  • Whistling
  • Whooshing

Other sounds may also be heard due to tinnitus symptoms. The signs are often most noticeable at nighttime or in other quiet moments as external sounds are not there to drown out the tinnitus.

What else to look for?

Tinnitus isn’t a disease but rather a sign of an underlying issue. Patients should stay vigilant to the other signs and risk factors that can cause or worsen the symptoms. 

Hearing loss is the biggest culprit. When the brain doesn’t receive signals from the ears, it can experience tinnitus while attempting to fill in the gaps. Hearing loss is often attributed to damaged hair cells within the cochlea, which can encourage sound to bounce in the ear canal. The symptoms of hearing loss should be checked by an audiologist.

Some who experience tinnitus also hear sounds hours later. Music and melodies are the most common culprits, with tunes playing internally long after listening to them. There is a distinctly different feeling than reminiscing about a song.

Temporary cases of tinnitus are linked to flu, ear infections, excessive earwax and medications for other conditions. Treatment for this type of tinnitus can be quicker and smoother, but only when attention is paid to the symptoms.

Tinnitus can be hereditary and linked to blood history, which is why anyone worried about the condition should speak to their immediate family. 

Worried about tinnitus?

Tinnitus symptoms can strike at any age. If you’ve noticed buzzes, whirling or other symptoms, an audiologist is the best person to diagnose and treat the condition. Now is the time to take control.