Many people have some ringing sounds in their ears once in a while. You may hear a roar, a hiss, a tinkle, or a buzz. The sound usually lasts only a few minutes. If it goes on all the time, you may have tinnitus.
Tinnitus is usually caused by long-term exposure to loud noise. This damages the nerves in the inner ear. It can occur with all types of hearing loss. It may be a symptom of almost any ear problem.
Tinnitus may be caused by a buildup of earwax. Or it may be caused by ear infections or certain medicines (especially antibiotics or large amounts of aspirin). You can also hear noises in your ears because of an injury to the ears, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, or a medical condition.
You may need tests to evaluate your hearing and to find causes of long-lasting tinnitus.
Your doctor may suggest one or more treatments to help you cope with it. You can also do things at home to help reduce symptoms.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Some tinnitus may last a long time. To cope with noise, try to:
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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