Tinnitus is a common disorder affecting over 50 million people in the United States. It is often referred to as “ringing in the ears,” although some people hear hissing, roaring, whistling, buzzing or clicking. Tinnitus is not actually a disease, but a symptom of another underlying condition of the ear, auditory nerve or another influencing factor.
Tinnitus can be intermittent or constant, with single or multiple tones. The perceived volume can range from very soft to extremely loud and may be recurrent or constant.
The exact cause of tinnitus is not known in every case. However, there are several likely factors that may worsen tinnitus. These include:
Noise-induced hearing loss
Wax build-up in the ear canal
Ear or sinus infections
Age-related hearing loss
Ear diseases and disorders
Certain types of tumors
Head and neck trauma
Depending on the severity and underlying condition causing the tinnitus, there are several treatments available to improve the perception of unwanted noise. The most common treatments for tinnitus include:
Hearing aids with tinnitus-masking features
Tinnitus retraining therapy
Avoidance of certain medications
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