Tinnitus: When the Ears Ring

Joshua J. Pray; W. Steven Pray

US Pharmacist. 2005;30(6) 

In This Article

Variation of Tinnitus-Induced Sounds

Patients may state that the source of tinnitus is in one ear or both ears; some pinpoint the head rather than the ears; others feel that the source is outside of the body altogether.[8] The average patient thinks of tinnitus as a "ringing" in the ears, which is described by the Latin root of the term, tinnire, meaning "to ring."[8] However, this is an oversimplification, as the actual range of sounds heard by patients with tinnitus is far more complex. The most frequent sound heard with nonvibratory subjective tinnitus is a high-pitched tone. Patients also describe hearing hissing, sizzling, or buzzing noises.[8] The American Tinnitus Association adds roaring, whistling, chirping, or clicking.[9] Tinnitus may also cause patients to hear beating, humming, banging, blowing, clanging, whooshing, rumbling, or shrieking noises, as well as those of rushing water, radio static, breaking glass, bells ringing, owls hooting, or chainsaws running.[10] (Some of these sounds may be objective or pulsatile in origin.) A Web site that allows patients to match specific aural tones to their tinnitus and also to determine the level of hearing loss is located at eos.bio.tu-darmstadt.de/aglangner/tinnitus-html/english/bot-tinnitus-beispiele.htm.

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