Tinnitus occurs when you experience a ringing sound in one or both of your ears.  The sound is usually described as a constant humming or buzzing sound.  The sound can be continuous or intermittent and can be more obvious in a quiet environment or just before you sleep at night.  It affects about 15% to 20% of people and is more common in older people.

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Common causes of tinnitus include;

  • age-related process
  • previous ear injury
  • excessive and repetitive loud noise
  • glue ear or ear wax
  • poor blood circulation to the ear
  • hearing loss
  • middle ear infection
  • medication side effects (such as antibiotics, NSAIDs, diuretics or cancer medication)
  • brain lesions (such as an acoustic tumour or multiple sclerosis)

Click to view DrSamBailey video on Tinnitus

Diagnostic Tests

In order to diagnose your condition, you may need one or some of the following tests

  • Thorough outer and middle ear examination using a endoscope
  • Audiometry hearing tests
  • MRI / CT scan (to exclude a brain lesion)


Your doctor may treat any underlying condition (such as ear wax or ear infection) which may be the cause for the tinnitus.  Unfortunately most cases of tinnitus due to old age or poor circulation may not be treatable.  Nonetheless, here are some treatment options which your doctor may suggest;

  • White noise machines are gadgets which produce soothing background noise like the sound of raindrops or waves to help you sleep
  • Masking devices are similar to hearing aids which produce a continuous low-level white noise to help you suppress the more annoying tinnitus sounds
  • Medications such as Betahistine (Betaserc) or anti-depressants may help
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with a counsellor can help you learn coping techniques to cope with living with the noise
  • Hypnotherapy with therapist can also help you cope and be peace with the disturbance
  • Adopt a healthier lifestyle by eating more healthily, avoid excessive caffeinated drinks and get adequate sleep

See your ENT surgeon if your tinnitus persists

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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