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April 06, 2021

Welcome to this symptom guide about tinnitus. We're sorry to hear you have this problem!

While tinnitus is often called ringing in the ears, that's just one way people with tinnitus describe the problem. Others describe hearing a hissing, whooshing, roaring, or buzzing sound, or experiencing a beating sensation in the ear. So, for the purposes of this guide, we'll stick with the more general term, tinnitus.

There are a number of causes of tinnitus. This guide will cover some of the most common, but it is not exhaustive; rarer causes will not be covered. In addition, tinnitus results from just about any cause of hearing loss. For example, excessive buildup of wax in the ears may cause hearing loss and tinnitus. However, this guide will focus on tinnitus rather than hearing loss.

By answering a short series of questions, you will learn about the more common reasons for tinnitus and the cause that most likely applies to you. This guide is not intended to replace a face-to-face meeting with your doctor about these symptoms. Many causes of tinnitus require an in-person examination and testing to diagnose.

Let's get started.

Have you had any significant injury or trauma to your head, neck, or ears recently?

Yes, I have had recent injury or trauma.

No, fortunately, I've had no injury or trauma recently.


Because certain causes of tinnitus are more likely in older people, the next question is about your age.

Are you over the age of 55?

Yes, I'm over the age of 55.

No, I'm 55 or younger.

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