What Kind of Sounds Might Be a Warning Sign of Tinnitus?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 20 million Americans have tinnitus, a potentially frustrating hearing issue that can affect people’s daily lives by making it difficult to hear and even sleep. If you suspect — but are not sure — that you have tinnitus, hearing the following noises in the ear could serve as a clear warning sign:

Arab woman has buzzing, hissing, ringing in ears. Tinnitus bothers woman

Ringing Noises

A ringing in the ears, despite there not being any external sounds around to cause it, is the most commonly reported symptom of tinnitus. The noise tends to be high-pitched and experienced in both quiet and noisy environments, depending on the severity of the condition. Some people experience a constant ringing in both ears, while others hear it in only one ear; in either case, it can be permanent or come and go.


Some people do not hear a ringing noise and instead experience a persistent buzzing that drowns out other sounds. It can also be heard as more of a whooshing sound, a bit like white noise, that comes and goes or that remains in the background throughout the day.


Another sound you may hear if you experience tinnitus is a continued hissing, which can be loud or soft, and like the other signs of tinnitus, it can either come and go or be permanent.

What to Do if You Suspect You Have Tinnitus

The first thing to do if you believe tinnitus is what may be causing you to hear these sounds is to turn to an expert audiologist, especially if the sounds are becoming more intrusive and affecting your quality of life or sleep. Your audiologist will perform some tests to understand where the problem lies and ensure there is nothing physically wrong with your ears.

You can expect a hearing test, which will check your ability to hear a wide range of tones, and you can also choose to undergo a test of your eardrum, which involves the use of a handheld device called a tympanometer. For some, magnetic resonance imaging can be another solid option to determine the source of the issue.

Regardless of which tests you undergo, an audiologist will check for signs of pulsatile tinnitus, which can point to unusual blood flow patterns in the ear, abnormal cerebral pressure, and vascular malformations.

Unfortunately, tinnitus itself is incurable, but there are many options that can help you treat its underlying cause.

Hearing aids, for instance, can be a great option for people who suffer from tinnitus and hearing loss, as they can help reduce the strain of listening and even distract from tinnitus-induced sounds by bringing more background noises to the forefront. For those with more severe hearing loss, cochlear implants can also help, as can sound generators, which deliver sounds to your ear that can help mask tinnitus.

On the subject of masking tinnitus, devices called maskers are another excellent choice, as they can make tinnitus less noticeable. They are small electronic devices that create sounds that can make the ringing, buzzing, or hissing seem softer.

Other treatment options include relaxation techniques. Tinnitus can be stressful to deal with, and that stress can actually make the condition’s symptoms even more noticeable. By learning relaxation techniques, you can improve your quality of life.

Aside from that, there is also the option of tinnitus retraining therapy, a specific kind of tinnitus therapy that audiologists can provide, combining counseling with the use of sound maskers.

With all of that said, and if all else fails, many people are actually able to get used to tinnitus through a process called habituation, which an audiologist can offer tips on how to help yourself through.

Find Relief for Your Tinnitus Symptoms with Help from American Hearing and Balance

If you notice some of the potential signs of tinnitus, you must turn to experts for help as soon as you can. The right audiologists can provide treatment options that can help you manage the frustrating symptoms of this condition. At American Hearing & Balance, we offer help through our tinnitus treatment in Beverly Hills, Marina del Rey, Westchester, Westwood, Santa Monica, Long Beach, and Torrance. Call us today to learn more about our services.

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