Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a common hearing-related condition that affects one in five people. What might seem surprising is that, by itself, tinnitus isn’t a condition – it’s a symptom of other conditions like noise-induced hearing loss, head trauma or problems with the circulatory system. Still, tinnitus comes with its own symptoms. Pay close attention to the following symptoms of tinnitus and visit an audiologist if any of it sounds a little too familiar. 

What you’ll hear

The most obvious sign of tinnitus is ringing, buzzing, humming, static, chirping, pulsing, whooshing or rattling in your ears. These sounds aren’t true sounds – they’re created by your own auditory system. Most of the time, you’re the only one who will “hear” the ringing noise, but in rare cases (usually linked to blood vessel or bone conditions), your audiologist will hear it while examining your ears.

Other symptoms

Despite the realization that tinnitus isn’t real sound, it doesn’t mean it won’t seem real, loud or be difficult to live with. Ringing in the ears isn’t harmful to your health, but the symptoms it causes can be. While some cases of tinnitus are intermittent, other cases are constant and severe, affecting a person’s emotions, ability to concentrate, sleep and functionality. If you’ve been extra stressed, anxious, sad, withdrawn, depressed or fatigued, you may be dealing with side effects from tinnitus.

What to do

If these symptoms sound familiar, you should contact an audiologist as soon as possible for a tinnitus evaluation. If your tinnitus is linked to a serious medical condition, an audiologist will be able to refer you to the right specialist for treatment. Otherwise, an audiologist may determine your tinnitus is caused by hearing loss and offer treatments like hearing aids, sound machines, masking devices and therapy. Hearing aids are one of the most common relief methods for tinnitus because not only do they improve ringing-in-the-ears sensations, they also treat the hearing loss.

If you have these symptoms, there’s no reason to suffer. Contact an audiologist to set up an appointment as soon as possible. Your audiologist will be able to evaluate your condition, recommend the proper treatment and give you tips and tricks to combat the noises.