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HealthInfo Aoraki South Canterbury


Mate rongonga ā-hinengaro

TinnitusTinnitus is when you hear sounds in your ears or head that do not come from your surroundings.

Tinnitus is a very common problem. There are many different forms of tinnitus and many different causes.

People with tinnitus commonly hear ringing, buzzing or whistling sounds but music or voices can sometimes be heard. Often, the sound is high pitched but it can be pulsing, clicking or gurgling.

Tinnitus isn't a disease, but the result of changes in your hearing or autonomic nervous system. The problem can be anywhere between your ears and your brain. Different people experience tinnitus differently.

Many things can trigger tinnitus, including:

Anxiety, depression and stress can make tinnitus more of a problem.

Diagnosing tinnitus

Tinnitus isn't usually serious, but if it's new, it's sensible to get your general practice team or audiologist to check it. This is especially important if your tinnitus is just in one ear, it pulses in rhythm with your heartbeat or you have sudden hearing loss.

Your doctor will look in your ears and will usually suggest a full diagnostic hearing test with an audiologist. Occasionally you may need further tests to find the underlying cause, such as blood tests or a scan.

Treating tinnitus

There are many ways tinnitus can be managed, and some people can get rid of it completely.

Most people can learn to cope with their tinnitus using simple self-help measures.

If your doctor finds that ear wax is causing your tinnitus, removing the ear wax may stop it happening.

If your tinnitus is an ongoing problem options include:

An audiologist who specialises in tinnitus management can help advise on what might suit you.

Self-care for tinnitus

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed August 2023.


Page reference: 52902

Review key: HITIN-17490