What is Tinnitus?

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.

Soundwaves near a low poly ear graphic

Causes Of Tinnitus

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, we have compiled a list of some of the common causes:

  • Prolonged exposure to loud sounds
  • Age related hearing loss
  • Extreme stress
  • Ear infections
  • Earwax blockage
  • Ear bone changes
  • Some medications

Impacts Of Tinnitus

Tinnitus often has a negative impact on individuals quality of life with some people experiencing:

  • Sleep problems
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Increased anxiety


In many cases Tinnitus cannot be prevented but you can reduce your risk by:

  • Using over the ear hearing protection if exposed to loud noises
  • Reduce the volume if using headphones to listen to music
  • Stay fit and healthy to maintain cardiovascular health


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