Ringing in the ears: Learn about your options

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Ringing in the ears is a symptom of tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition which is related to hearing loss, but it can have many causes, including exposure to loud noise, aging, ear infections, and injury. Ringing in the ears is a symptom of tinnitus, and it is a result of your brain trying to compensate for the loss of hair cells in your ear. Tinnitus can also be experienced as a hissing, roaring, or buzzing sound.

Tinnitus affects about 15% of the population. For some people, it can have a severe impact on their daily life, and it can cause anxiety, stress, anger, and sleep problems.

Our brief online tinnitus test can help you understand if you have tinnitus symptoms (such as ringing in the ears) and / or hearing loss. The two conditions are often experienced simultaneously.

Online Tinnitus Test

People with tinnitus often experience hearing loss too. Our quick online tinnitus test can help you understand if you might have tinnitus and / or hearing loss and what you can do about it.

Question 1
Do you ever experience ringing or buzzing sounds in your ear(s) when no external sound is present?
Do you ever have trouble falling asleep or concentrating due to any ringing or buzzing sounds in your ear(s)?
Do you ever have trouble following conversations because you don’t hear properly?
Do you find yourself turning up the volume on the TV or radio louder than normal?

Your result:

Indications of tinnitus and hearing loss

Your answers indicate that you may experience symptoms of tinnitus and hearing loss. We recommend that you visit one of our clinics. There are hearing aids that can treat your hearing loss and might give you relief from your tinnitus.*

* The result of the test may only be used for guidance. Official conclusions about hearing loss/tinnitus can be provided by our certified hearing care experts.



Book a FREE hearing test in a clinic near you

Your result:

Indications of hearing loss

Your answers indicate that you may experience symptoms of hearing loss but no symptoms of tinnitus. We recommend that you visit one of our clinics to to see if you have a hearing loss that should be treated.*

* The result of the test may only be used for guidance. Official conclusions about hearing loss/tinnitus can be provided by our certified hearing care experts.



Book a FREE hearing test in a clinic near you

Your result:

Symptoms of tinnitus indicated

Your answers indicate that you may experience symptoms of tinnitus. We recommend that you read about tinnitus treatment options to learn about how to cope with and find relief from tinnitus symptoms.*

* The result of the test may only be used for guidance. Official conclusions about hearing loss/tinnitus can be provided by our certified hearing care experts.

Your result:

No tinnitus or hearing loss indicated

Your answers indicate that you do not have tinnitus - or that you have non-bothersome tinnitus that is not currently affecting your everyday life. If you experience symptoms of tinnitus in the future, we recommend visiting your local health care provider.

* The result of the test may only be used for guidance. Official conclusions about hearing loss/tinnitus can be provided by our certified hearing care experts.

Step 1 of 6

What causes ringing in the ears?

There are several factors that can cause ringing in the ears. The most common cause is due to exposure to loud noises which damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. The ringing sound is the result of your brain trying to compensate for the loss of hair cells.

Common causes of ringing in the ears:

  1. Exposure to loud noise
  2. The natural aging process
  3. Infections in the middle ear
  4. Emotional distress
  5. Diabetes
  6. Negative reactions to medicine
  7. Head or neck injury
  8. Intolerance to noise (hyperacusis)
  9. Untreated medical conditions like Ménière’s disease and Otitis

Take online tinnitus test

Treatment for ringing in the ears

While there is no miracle cure for ringing in the ears, there are several ways that you can reduce the impact it has on your quality of life. Below you can learn about some techniques that can be effective in managing the sensations associated with ringing in the ears.

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1. Sound therapy
Sounds therapy programs can reduce the contrast between quiet environments and ringing sounds in the ears
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2. Hearing aids
Since they deliver more sound to your brain, you may notice tinnitus sounds less when wearing hearing aids
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3. Relaxation and mindfulness
Meditation and yoga have proven to be helpful in relieving the effects of ringing in the ears
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4. Hearing protection
Wearing protective hearing gear (such as ear plugs) can be an effective way to prevent noise damage from loud environments

Get relief from ringing in the ears with sound therapy

Sound therapy is a form of tinnitus relief that allows you to listen to therapeutic sounds through your hearing aids in order to balance out the sounds associated with tinnitus.

Sound therapy can be a helpful way to manage tinnitus symptoms. While it cannot completely eliminate the sensations, it can mask the tinnitus so that it becomes much less noticeable. This masking process takes place when you begin to focus your attention on other noises besides those associated with tinnitus (such as ringing in the ears).

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Using hearing aids to treat ringing in the ears

Hearing aids can be used to treat both hearing loss and ringing in the ears since they simultaneously help you hear better, while also masking tinnitus sounds by amplifying the sounds around you.

You are therefore able to hear more with less effort while also reducing the loudness of any ringing in the ears.


In addition to this benefit, many modern hearing aids also offer a sound therapy feature which allows you to play some therapeutic sounds (such as white noise) in the hearing aids which further mask the tinnitus.


Hearing aid brands and models

Hearing loss and ringing in ears

Many people who experience ringing in the ears also have hearing loss (even if they’re not aware of it). If you’re experiencing any signs or symptoms of tinnitus (such as ringing in the ears), then you may benefit from wearing hearing aids.

80% of those with tinnitus also have hearing loss

Because hearing aids send more sound to your brain, the symptoms of tinnitus may become less bothersome.

And since your hearing aids improve your ability to hear, it becomes easier to focus on other sounds around you, thereby taking the focus away from any tinnitus-related sounds (such as ringing in the ears).

Take online tinnitus test

 

Common challenges

Those who experience ringing in the ears may become sensitive to loud environments, such as a crowded restaurant or a bar with loud background music. They may even begin to avoid these environments all together.

If left untreated, ringing in the ears can lead to:

  • Concentration problems
  • Isolation
  • Sleep disorder
  • Anger and irritability
  • Increased sensitivity to loud environments

While some may find it easier than others to ignore tinnitus symptoms and sensations, tinnitus can also have a negative impact on quality of life when experienced over extended periods of time.

FAQ – Ringing in the ears

Nimi Daya Naran head shot
Nimi Daya Naran - Audiologist and Head of Medical Services & Graduate Development ANZ
 BA(Psych), M.Clin.Aud., MAudSA(CCP)

Nimi is an experienced Audiologist whose clinical career and dedication to the Audiology industry has afforded her many opportunities, where she has had the ability to specialise in paediatrics, adult rehabilitation, complex adult rehabilitation and tinnitus. Through these specialities she recognised her passion for clinical excellence and educating others. 

Today, she draws on that experience in her work as the Head of Medical Services and Graduate Development. Her current role allows her to raise hearing health awareness amongst general practitioners. As well as contribute to the development of clinicians in their early career, to ensure they have a strong clinical foundation as they begin their journey in the Audiology industry. She has also developed initiatives to improve clinical service delivery and client care. More recently she has established the Audika Specialist Referral Network, an initiative to ensure clients who could benefit from implantable technology are given access to these services. As well as ensuring these clients are supported throughout their implant journey.  

Sources:

1. Beck D.L. (2012) British Academy of Audiology. Podium presentation.

2. Al-Swiahb, J., & Park, S. N. (2016). Characterization of tinnitus in different age groups: A retrospective review. Noise & health, 18(83), 214–219. https://doi.org/10.4103/1463-1741.189240