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Tinnitus is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears or head when no external sound is present. In most cases, tinnitus is a subjective noise, meaning only the sufferer can hear it. Typically, they describe the sound as "ringing in ears," though others describe it as hissing, buzzing, whistling, roaring and even chirping.
While many things can potentially cause or trigger tinnitus – including age-related hearing loss, noise exposure or certain medications – there is no known tinnitus cure.
According to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), there are ways to get tinnitus relief – including counseling and sound therapy.
Because hearing loss is frequently associated with tinnitus – and because hearing aids can be a critical component of many sound therapy programs – the ATA recommends anyone with tinnitus see a hearing professional experienced in tinnitus treatment.
Because tinnitus is subjective, it affects people in different ways. For some, it's a minor annoyance that does not require help or treatment. For others, it can cause a host of serious issues, including: