Common Questions about Tinnitus

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is often referred to as "ringing in the ears," although some people hear hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping, or clicking. Tinnitus is the medical term for sound perceived in the ears that does not come from an external source. Tinnitus can be constant or intermittent and can vary in volume. 

How many people have tinnitus?

An estimated 50 million Americans have some form of tinnitus.

What causes tinnitus?

The exact physiological cause of tinnitus is not known. Exposure to loud noises, wax build-up, certain medications, ear infections, dental and jaw problems, cardiovascular disease, certain types of tumors, as well as head and neck trauma can all trigger tinnitus.  

Is tinnitus associated with hearing loss?

Tinnitus will not cause a hearing loss but it may be worse if associated with a hearing loss. It is frequently the result of exposure to excessively loud sounds.  

What kinds of treatment are available?

  • Amplification (hearing aids)
  • Biofeedback
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Drug therapy
  • Masking devices
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy
  • TMJ treatment

What makes tinnitus worse?

  • Caffeine
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Exposure to loud sounds
  • Large doses of aspirin
  • Marijuana
  • Smoking nicotine
  • Stress and fatigue

Where can I get help?

Talk to your doctor if you have tinnitus, especially if it is pulsating tinnitus. He or she may refer you to a specialist to determine if your tinnitus is caused by a medical condition. You also may be referred to an audiologist for a complete hearing evaluation.  

Where can I get more information about tinnitus?

Contact the American Tinnitus Association at 800-634-8978, or visit their website at ata.org.

Let Us Help You Hear

Schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation by calling 231-935-6455 or email hearing@mhc.net.