Department of Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery


Tinnitus, or head noise, is the term that describes any undesirable noise in the ears. Most common is the high-pitched ringing sound that we have all experienced. However, the noise may be perceived as low-pitched, intermittent, pulsating, roaring or many other forms.

Ringing or roaring is usually a sign of high-frequency hearing loss. While many people consider this as a normal part of aging, it should always be investigated. Noise exposure may aggravate both the hearing loss and the tinnitus. Aspirin or other NSAID medicines may also aggravate tinnitus

Pulsating tinnitus, in time with the heartbeat, is caused by blood flow in the vessels in or near the ear. It too, deserves a thorough investigation.

Research is being done to try to better understand the reasons for tinnitus and how best to treat it. There is no surgical procedure that is proven to help. Some medicines may help, but no single medication is successful in everyone. Noise-makers are helpful for nighttime sleep help.

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