What do tinnitus sufferers hear?

In most cases, tinnitus is subjective noise, meaning that only the person who has tinnitus can hear it. Tinnitus occurs when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn't caused by an external sound, and other people usually can't hear it. It affects approximately 15 to 20% of people and is especially common in older adults.

Tinnitus (pronounced Tin-ni-tus or Tinn-ei-tus) is the perception of sounds in the ears or head that are not present in the environment. For example, tinnitus can sound like a hum, a hum, a whistle, a hum, a squeak, a cicada, or like a shell shell. It may even sound like your heartbeat. The best description I have been able to give to my own tinnitus is that it sounds like the “on” sound of an old TV when it is turned on for the first time.

Tinnitus can be constant, fluctuating, intermittent, or rare. According to NIDCD, approximately 10% of the population (25 million Americans) has experienced tinnitus. Tinnitus can be caused by several things, such as broken or damaged hair cells in the part of the ear that receives sound (cochlea); changes in the way blood moves through nearby blood vessels (carotid artery); problems with the jaw bone joint (temporomandibular joint); and problems with the the way the brain processes sound. People who experience tinnitus describe hearing a variety of different and sometimes intertwined sounds.

In fact, some people with tinnitus have no difficulty hearing and, in some cases, even become so sensitive to sound (hyperacusis) that they must take steps to dampen or mask external noises. Tinnitus can worsen in some people if they drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, drink caffeinated beverages, or eat certain foods. For some, tinnitus is not annoying, or something that is only perceived in very quiet situations, such as when they go to sleep at night. Millions of Americans experience tinnitus, often to a debilitating degree, making it one of the most common health conditions in the country.

If the hairs inside the inner ear bend or break, this happens as you age or when you are regularly exposed to loud sounds, they can transmit random electrical impulses to the brain and cause tinnitus. If you hear any type of repetitive sound that doesn't really exist, you're likely to have tinnitus.

Milton Krolak
Milton Krolak

Devoted coffeeaholic. Avid beer practitioner. Award-winning zombie buff. Amateur beer ninja. Hipster-friendly coffee geek. Professional social media enthusiast.

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