What Is Tinnitus?
About 1 in 5 Americans has tinnitus (TINN-a-tus), which is described as a constant ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling or clicking in the ears. For 20 million Americans, it interferes with everyday life, and for 2 million Americans, it is a debilitating symptom of an underlying medical condition.
There are two types of tinnitus:
- Subjective tinnitus: The more common form of tinnitus, this is when only you can hear the sounds.
- Objective tinnitus: A rare form of tinnitus, this is when your physician can hear the sounds on close examination.
Tinnitus can be temporary, when caused by a wax buildup or sinus infection, or it can be permanent. About 90 percent of people with tinnitus also have hearing loss.
Tinnitus is more common in certain populations:
- Military personnel
- Motor sports and aviation enthusiasts
- Workers in loud environments