Tinnitus occurs in the absence of an external sound source. No-one else can hear the tinnitus. It is not a condition, but rather a symptom (such as a headache) of your auditory system. Tinnitus is typically high frequency and described as a ringing or buzzing sound. It is an extremely common symptom, with 20% of the adult population experiencing tinnitus. At some point in our lives, we will all experience tinnitus. Although no-one really knows whether the tinnitus is generated peripherally (in the cochlea or inner ear) or centrally (in the brain), the current consensus is that it is generated in the central acoustic centres.
There are many potential causes of tinnitus and it can occur at any time, each case of tinnitus is unique. There is no definitive list of cause, below is a list of some of the common causes:
Tinnitus often has a negative impact on individuals quality of life with some people experiencing:
In many cases Tinnitus cannot be prevented but you can reduce your risk by: