If you hear an annoying buzzing or ringing sound in one or both ears, you have tinnitus. It can bother you a lot. Tinnitus is a problem with your auditory system. That's the system that lets you hear. The problem may be in the ear. It may be in the nerve that connects your ear to your brain. Or, it may be in the part of your brain that makes sense of sound signals. Usually, tinnitus is not a sign that you have a serious issue.


What causes tinnitus? It can be linked to many different things. Most people slowly lose hearing as they get older, and that can cause it. Being exposed to loud noises for a long time can, too. It can happen because of a medication you take. Ear wax, infections, tumors and other problems can all cause tinnitus.


Tinnitus is different for different people. You might hear buzzing, ringing, roaring, clicking or hissing. It may be soft, or it might be loud. It may be so loud that it's hard for you to hear other things. You may have trouble concentrating. And it may keep you awake at night.


Treatment for tinnitus depends on what is causing it. Your doctor may be able to stop it by removing earwax or a tumor. Or maybe you need to change a medication. Hearing aids or certain medications can make your symptoms better. Some people find relief with a machine that makes white noise. And some people can be trained to ignore tinnitus. Your healthcare provider can create a care plan that's right for you.