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What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is defined as a noise in the ears or the head that is not related to an external sound. It is frequently described as ringing, buzzing, humming, hissing, whistling, etc. It can be perceived in one or both ears, or your head. Most people have experienced tinnitus at one point or another and at times, it can be very distressing.

There are a variety of factors that can be associated with tinnitus. These include aging, hearing loss, loud noise exposure, allergies, head/ear trauma, certain ear diseases and stress, just to name a few. Generally, it is not life-threatening. Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. Though there is currently no known cure for tinnitus, there are coping strategies you can discuss with your audiologist.

Regardless, it is highly recommended you visit an Otologist (ear doctor) or Audiologist (hearing specialist) to make sure it is not the result of a serious medical problem.


Earplugs will not help your tinnitus. They will make the tinnitus seem louder while you wear them. Avoid wearing earplugs that make it more difficult to hear, except in very loud noise, if you have tinnitus. Earplugs prevent your ears from getting accustomed to normal sounds if you have hyperacusis. Do not use earplugs unless you are using them temporarily in a noise that is unbearably loud to you. Always use hearing protection when you are exposed to very loud sounds, whether or not you have tinnitus or hyperacusis.

Temporary deafness and temporary tinnitus

Loud sounds, such as a rock concert or fireworks, or loud work noises can cause dullness of hearing, tinnitus, or both immediately afterward. This will usually disappear after a few minutes or hours. These temporary effects should be taken as a warning. There is a risk of permanent damage if you repeatedly expose your ears to loud sounds.

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