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What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a buzzing or ringing noise in the ears that also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. Its onset can be acute or chronic.

Causes of Tinnitus

Common causes of tinnitus include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ear infection or ear canal blockage
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Medication effects
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Meniere's disease
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Ear bone changes
  • Muscle spasms in the inner ear
  • Blood vessel disorders
  • Other chronic conditions including diabetes, thyroid problems, migraines, anemia, and autoimmune disorders 

Symptoms of Tinnitus

The signs and symptoms of tinnitus include noise in the ears such as ringing, roaring, buzzing, clicking, hissing, or whistling.

Diagnosis of Tinnitus

Your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical examination of your ears, head, and neck. Associated tests include:

  • Hearing Test: This test helps to identify the possible causes of tinnitus. During the test, you will sit in a soundproof room wearing earphones that transmit specific sounds into your ear. The doctor will be monitoring the sounds you hear and comparing the results with those normal for your age.
  • Imaging tests: Depending on the cause of your tinnitus, you may need CT or MRI scans.
  • Lab tests: Your doctor may draw blood to check for anemia, thyroid problems, heart disease, or vitamin deficiencies.

Treatment for Tinnitus

Treatments for tinnitus depends on the causes and symptoms and include:

  • Removing wax blockage: Your doctor may remove built-up earwax using suction or a small tool with a loop on the end.
  • Hearing aids: Hearing aids can be helpful for tinnitus caused by noise-induced or age-related hearing loss. You will be provided with instructions and counseled on the benefits of the device by your audiologist. 
  • Noise suppression: Your doctor may suggest the use of an electronic device to suppress the noise such as a white noise machine or masking device.
  • Medications: These can reduce the severity of the symptoms or complications.
  • Behavioral treatment helps you to change the way you think and feel about your symptoms, and include:
    • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) 


Tinnitus can be prevented by:

  • Wearing over-the-ear hearing protection when exposed to loud sounds
  • Regular exercise
  • Limiting alcohol, caffeine ,and nicotine

Location & DirectionsENT Jacksonville

1370 13th Avenue South, Suite 115 Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

  • American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
  • American College of Surgeons
  • Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Miller School of Medicine