Annoying noises in your head, often described as ringing in the ears, can be intermittent or continuous, a low roar or a high squeal of whine. The sounds, heard in one or both ears, can have a variety of causes, including exposure to loud noise.


Tinnitus, or head noises, may be an intermittent sound or an annoying continuous sound in one or both ears.  Its pitch can go from a low roar to a high squeal or whine.

Most tinnitus comes from damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear.  The health of these nerve endings is important for acute hearing, and injury to them brings on hearing loss and often tinnitus.  If you are older, advancing age is generally accompanied by a certain amount of hearing nerve impairment and tinnitus.  If you are younger, exposure to loud noise is probably the leading cause of tinnitus, and often damages hearing as well.

There are many causes for “subjective tinnitus”, the noise only you can hear.  Some causes are not serious (a small plug of wax in the ear canal might cause temporary tinnitus).  Tinnitus can also be a symptom of stiffening of the middle ear bones (otosclerosis).

Tinnitus may also be caused by allergy, high or low blood pressure (blood circulation problems), a tumor, diabetes, thyroid problems, injury to the head or neck, and a variety of other causes, including medications, such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, sedatives, antidepressants, and aspirin.

In most cases, there is no specific treatment for ear and head noise.  Most causes cannot be identified.  Occasionally, medicine may help the noise.

Masking out the head noise with a competing sound at a constant low level, such as a ticking clock or radio static (white noise), may make it less noticeable.


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