What are those noises in my ears or head?

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Tinnitus (TIN-nit-us) is the name given to noises heard in the ears or head. Tinnitus has been experienced by almost everyone at one time or another. It is defined as the perception of sound in the head or ears when no external sound is present. The noises vary from person to person and have been described as sounding like ringing, buzzing, grinding, hissing, roaring, pulsing, whooshing, chirping, whistling, singing or  clicking. Tinnitus can occur in one or both ears or in the centre of the head. Tinnitus may be constant or may come and go.

Is tinnitus a disease?

Tinnitus is not a disease or illness. It is not imaginary and it is not a psychiatric condition. Tinnitus is thought of as a symptom and may suggest a problem somewhere in the hearing system although many people with normal hearing may also experience tinnitus sometimes.

What causes tinnitus?

The most common cause of tinnitus is wear and tear on the organ of hearing from excessive noise exposure. Tinnitus may begin after a single loud noise such as a gunshot or firecracker explosion, but more commonly results after prolonged exposure to moderately loud noises. 

What is the treatment for tinnitus?

The most effective treatment for tinnitus is to eliminate the underlying cause if it is simple such as wax or fluid build- up. On many occasions, however, it is difficult to determine any one specific source. Despite this there are a number of interventions that may help reduce the impact of tinnitus.