What Are The Symptoms Of Tinnitus?

February 22, 2023
5 min
Dr. Fabrice Bardy
Dr. Matthieu Recugnat
Close-up image of a woman's ear, symbolizing the focus of the blog which discusses the symptoms of tinnitus.


Even if someone you know also experiences tinnitus, chances are the symptoms you both experience are different. In this blog, we will take a look into the symptoms of subjective tinnitus.

What Does Tinnitus Sound Like?

Tinnitus can sound different for everybody. Many  people describe tinnitus as a ringing, whooshing, hissing, buzzing or clicking. The image below shows some different common descriptions of tinnitus.

Tinnitus may be heard in one ear or both ears. It is possible to experience differences in loudness and pitch between the ears, and over time. For some people, tinnitus might be intermittent, only noticeable at certain times. Some people may only notice it in quiet situations, such as the period of time before going to bed each night. For others, it is a constant presence.

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Tinnitus is very commonly associated with hearing loss. This is because damage to the hair cells in the inner ear (cochlea) and auditory nerve is one of the most common causes of tinnitus. To read more about tinnitus and hearing loss, read our blog on the causes of tinnitus here here.

It can be incredibly frustrating to experience tinnitus on top of a hearing loss. It can be particularly difficult for people with tinnitus and hearing loss to hear in noisy environments. If you think you may have hearing loss, visit your audiologist for a hearing test and discussion of your options.

Tinnitus and Medical Conditions

While tinnitus is not usually a sign of a serious medical condition, it can sometimes indicate there may be further problems with the ears and auditory nerve. Depending on the type of tinnitus, it may be associated with blood flow abnormalities in the head and neck.  

Tinnitus can sometimes indicate problems such as an acoustic neuroma (a benign growth on the auditory nerve). Roaring tinnitus may also happen with attacks of vertigo as part of Meniere’s disease. Tinnitus is also a common side effect of middle ear problems such as ear infections and otosclerosis.

If your tinnitus is only noticeable in one ear, or is accompanied with episodes of vertigo (spinning sensation), it is important to seek medical advice from your doctor or visit audiologist for an assessment.

Psychological Well Being

For some people, tinnitus is only a minor annoyance they can tune out. However, others find their tinnitus interferes with their daily activities and quality of life. Tinnitus can be associated with anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue and difficulty concentrating.

In severe cases, chronic tinnitus sufferers may experience feelings of hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or feeling overwhelmed with your tinnitus, it is important to seek help immediately.
For urgent help, call a mental health crisis hotline or visit your local emergency department. Ring your country's emergency telephone number or visit Suicide.org to find a helpline for your country.

Don't Suffer in Silence

There are many effective treatment and management options available to help you live better with your tinnitus and regain your quality of life.

If your tinnitus lasts longer than a week, is constant, or is causing you distress or sleep disturbance, it is important to seek help. Visit your doctor or audiologist for a discussion and assessment of your tinnitus. Your health care professional will then be able to recommend management strategies so you can get some relief. These may include relaxation techniques, sound therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), hearing aids and other tinnitus maskers such as white noise machines.

For even more great information on tinnitus and how to manage it, download MindEar. MindEar will teach you about useful tools, strategies and exercises to educate you about tinnitus and create a plan of attack to take control of your wellbeing. Try it out today!

How MindEar can help you in your tinnitus journey

MindEar offers a range of scientifically-backed solutions that can help you manage your tinnitus symptoms effectively. In the MindEar app you will find a soundscape library offering a variety of adjustable soundscapes to help you find the sound sound therapy that works best for you. You can also talk to a tinnitus expert to help determine if a sound masker is right for you. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques are also accessible to provide you with the tools to take control of your condition so that you can live a life without noticing it. MindEar is here to guide you on that journey.

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