Tinnitus is the phantom perception of noise in the ears that occurs in the absence of an external sound source. It is estimated that about one in five people experience tinnitus.
Tinnitus by itself is not a disease but may be a symptom of another condition. Some of the most common causes of tinnitus include age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, earwax impaction, certain medications or a stiffening of the middle ear bones. Often, a precise cause is never identified.
If there is no source identified for tinnitus or if the cause is unable to be treated, there are several management options to consider. Often, the tinnitus never goes away completely, so finding strategies for coping with symptoms is critical. Cutting down or stopping smoking/consumption of alcohol along with regular exercise and relaxation may improve the tinnitus. Consultation with an audiologist may also be useful.