What ringing in your ears could mean

If you’re suffering from a constant noises or buzzing in the ears (also known as tinnitus), it is important to find out whether the cause of this is due to damage or loss of the sensory hair cells in the cochlea. Ringing in your ear can be loud or soft, and is usually more present when you’re sat in silence.

But what causes ringing in the ears? One cause for tinnitus is disruption to the cochlea. This is the part of the inner ear that looks like a snail shell – it’s responsible for transforming sound vibrations into a neural message that heads straight to your brain.

Some symptoms of tinnitus include:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Singing
  • Hissing
  • Throbbing
  • Whooshing

Any of these sounds lasting for five minutes or so at a time (or constantly) are indicative of tinnitus. The severity of tinnitus ranges between soft to loud. The sound can be in one or both ears. In general, it’s more noticeable at night.

Ways to ease tinnitus

There are some dos and don’ts centering around easing the symptoms of tinnitus:


  1. Try yoga, which may help to ease and calm you
  2. Distract yourself with soothing music
  3. Stick to a solid bedtime schedule, so you get enough sleep
  4. Support yourself by talking to others about how they cope with tinnitus
  5. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and aspirin


  1. Sit in silence when your tinnitus acts up – distract yourself in whatever way you can

What causes tinnitus?

Most often, tinnitus is linked to hearing loss. Other causes can be diabetes, MS, thyroid disorders, anxiety, side effects of certain medications or certain inner-ear conditions (one, specifically, known as Ménière’s disease: causing vertigo and dizziness alongside it).

Other things which may cause tinnitus are:

  1. Constant exposure to loud noises
  2. Head injury or concussion
  3. Wax build up in your ear canal
  4. Over-dosing on caffeine
  5. Excessive aspirin usage

It really depends on the cause – in some cases, tinnitus can go away on its own. In other cases, it can be more long-term. For such long-term cases, there’s certain options you can take which may help.

Coping with tinnitus


Acupuncture and alternative medicine practices have been reported to ease symptoms of tinnitus. This method has helped to ease tinnitus by softening, or completely eliminating, the ringing sound.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments in easing symptoms by helping to ‘reframe’ the mind and adjust to the symptoms. CBT has helped ease the associated symptoms of depression and anxiety which may accompany the ringing noise associated with tinnitus.

Use a hearing aid

Another option, should you pass evaluation by a certified healthcare professional, is to use a hearing aid. These help to boost external noises and essentially mask the noises made by tinnitus.

Hearing aids are the most appropriate treatement option if your tinnitus accompanies hearing loss.

Have your ears cleaned professionally

As mentioned above, if your tinnitus is caused by excessive earwax, it’s worth asking a healthcare professional (most of the time, this will be your doctor) to clean out your ear canal.

A microscope and small cleaning tool is used to remove ear wax from the canal. In cases such as these, it’s best to get the ear canal professionally cleaned instead of doing it at home.

Avoid cotton swabs at all costs; these may push the wax even further into the ear canal, worsening the condition.

Alongside these mainstream methods of coping with tinnitus, using headphones, earplugs and listening to soft music have proven to ease symptoms of tinnitus and alleviate anxiety.

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