Abnormal sounds in the ear such as hissing or high-pitched ringing


Management of condition.

Abnormal sounds in the ear such as hissing or ringing (Tinnitus) can be extremely annoying, but in most cases does not indicate a serious health problem. Wax buildup, for instance, can cause the symptoms and is easily treatable.

The condition may be related to certain lifestyle elements such as:

  • Not enough sleep
  • Too much caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Too much stress
  • Depression
  • Extensive use of aspirin

The doctor can reliably determine through various tests if any of these factors are relevant and offer management programs.

A more complex condition is called “Sensorineural Hearing Loss” and the noises will not disappear completely, even with treatment. This problem most often originates in the sensitive inner ear which houses a number of fluids, microscopic hairs and nerves that transmit sounds directly to the brain. The condition may be due to aging, as the microscopic hairs in the inner ear gradually deteriorate. Other possible causes include a ruptured ear drum or inner ear infection.

Since the condition can not be improved through surgery or medication, the doctor will recommend an assortment of management techniques to prevent the problem from worsening. Loud noises, even high volume music or ordinary machinery such as lawnmowers, should be avoided. Diversionary activities, exercise programs and hobbies for example, can help discount the effects of the ear noises on a person’s quality of life.

Noise in the ear can sometimes be masked by use of a hearing aid which will raise the level of background sounds. Playing a radio at night, tuned between stations to produce soft static or to relaxing music can be effective. Likewise, the hum of a fan or humidifier or an apparatus designed to produce a steady sound called “White Noise” may bring relief.


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