Hearing Solutions - Yukon, OK

Woman tries to identify the ringing, whooshing sound only she can hear.

A buzzing and ringing sound is what the majority of individuals hear when they suffer from tinnitus. But tinnitus can’t always be classified in this way. Tinnitus doesn’t always show up in one of those two ways. Actually, a huge array of sounds can be heard as a result of this condition. And that’s important to note.

Because, as useful as that “ringing and buzzing” shorthand might be, such a limited classification could make it challenging for some people to recognize their tinnitus symptoms. If Barb from down the road hears only crashing or whooshing in her ears, it might not even occur to her that tinnitus is responsible. So everyone, including Barb, will profit from having a stronger concept of what tinnitus can sound like.

A List of Sounds You May Hear With Tinnitus

Tinnitus is, generally, the sense of noises in your ears. Sometimes, this is an actual noise (this is known as objective tinnitus). And sometimes it’s an artifact of your ears (which means that the noises can’t be heard by others and don’t really exist – that’s known as subjective tinnitus). The variety of tinnitus you’re coping with will likely (but not always) have an impact on the sound you hear. And you could possibly hear a lot of different sounds:

  • Whooshing: Some people hear a whooshing noise caused by blood circulation in and around the ears which is a kind of “objective tinnitus”. You’re essentially hearing the sound of your own heart pumping blood.
  • Ringing: A ringing in the ears is the most common of the tinnitus noises. This is often a high pitched ring or whine. The ringing is often called a “tone”. When most people think of tinnitus, most of them think of this ringing.
  • High-pitch whistle: Think about that sound your tea kettle makes when it starts boiling? That specific high pitched squealing is sometimes heard by tinnitus sufferers. This one is obviously rather distressing.
  • Static: In some cases, your tinnitus may sound like static. Some people hear a high intensity static and some hear a low intensity static.
  • Roaring: This one is often described as “roaring waves”, or even simply “the ocean”. It may sound calming at first, but the truth is that the noise is much more overpowering than the gently lapping waves you might imagine.
  • Screeching: You know that sound of grinding metal? You may have heard this sound if you’ve ever been around a construction site. But for people who cope with tinnitus, this sound is commonly heard.
  • Buzzing: Sometimes, it’s a buzzing not a ringing. Many people even hear what sounds like cicada’s or other insects.
  • Electric motor: Your vacuum cleaner has a very distinct sound, mostly due to its electric motor. Tinnitus flare-up’s, for some people, manifest this exact sound.

A person who is suffering from tinnitus might hear many potential noises and this list is hardly complete.

Change Over Time

It’s also entirely possible for one individual to experience a number of tinnitus-related sounds. Brandon, as an example, spent most of last week hearing a ringing noise. Now, after eating at a loud restaurant with friends, he hears a static noise. Tinnitus noises can and do change, sometimes regularly.

It’s not well understood why this happens (mainly because the causes of tinnitus aren’t really well known).

Canceling Out Tinnitus

There are generally two potential strategies to dealing with tinnitus symptoms: masking the noise or helping your brain figure out how to dismiss the noise. Whatever your tinnitus sounds may be, the first step is to identify and familiarize yourself with them.

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