Tinnitus is frequently referred to as ringing in the ears, but it may be heard as a humming, roaring, hissing, buzzing, or clicking sound. It's sometimes linked to permanent hearing loss, but this isn’t always the case. Any hearing loss linked to tinnitus may be temporary. Even when hearing loss is permanent, it can frequently be helped by hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Impacted earwax can cause tinnitus. Exposure to a loud noise can also cause temporary tinnitus, as can the use of certain medications, such as aspirin and specific antibiotics. In addition, disorders such as ear infections and injuries, certain types of tumours, problems with blood flow, Ménière's disease, and temporomandibular joint or TMJ problems can cause ringing in the ears. These conditions may cause hearing loss as well, which may be temporary. In all of these cases, the tinnitus and any hearing loss that's present may disappear if the cause is removed or the condition is treated.
Otosclerosis is a problem with the movement of the middle ear bones. It can cause tinnitus and hearing loss and may or may not be curable.
Tinnitus that doesn't disappear with treatment is often associated with permanent hearing loss. It’s frequently linked to hair cell loss in the middle ear or damage to the auditory nerve.
Health professionals can offer suggestions for eliminating tinnitus if this is possible and dealing with the condition if it can’t be eliminated.