Ringing in the ear, or tinnitus, is a widespread condition described as a ringing, hissing, roaring, whooshing, or buzzing. It may be intermittent or constant and is a symptom of an underlying condition rather than a disease itself.


Tinnitus is categorized as being either pulsatile or nonpulsatile.

Pulsatile Tinnitus

People who suffer from pulsatile tinnitus often report hearing a thumping or whooshing sound the corresponds to the beat of their pulse. It is caused by abnormal blood flow within the arteries of the neck or inside the ear and is relatively rare. Possible causes include:

Fluid in the Middle Ear

Ear Infections

High Blood Pressure

Head and Neck Tumors

Blocked Arteries

Nonpulsatile Tinnitus

People who have the more common, non-pulsatile tinnitus, describe it as constant, typically occurring in both ears and resulting from injury or dysfunction of the inner ear. It can vary in sound type, pitch and loudness, as well as can be intermittent or chronic, lasting for weeks, months, or even years.

Noise Exposure

  • Hear ringing or humming in your ears
  • Shouting to be heard
  • Experience temporary hearing loss

Impacted Earwax

A buildup of earwax is called impacted earwax. It can cause symptoms such as hearing loss.

Head or Neck Trauma

Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back. Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body.

Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can lead to dizzy spells and hearing loss.


Otosclerosis is a condition in which there’s abnormal bone growth inside the ear.

Thyroid Conditions

Thyroid disorders can range from the enlarged gland to cancer.

Ototoxic Medications

Certain medications can damage the ear, resulting in hearing loss, ringing in the ear, or balance disorders. 

TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.

Acoustic Neuromas

Acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous and usually slow-growing tumor that develops on the main nerve leading from your inner ear to your brain.


Tinnitus is also classified as being either subjective (heard only by the patient) or objective (ringing can be heard by an impartial observer, such as a doctor). Most cases of tinnitus are subjective in nature.


Unfortunately, there is no universal cure for tinnitus. There are, however, treatments that make it less of a distraction. Because tinnitus is a side effect of an underlying condition, identifying the source is the first step to a solution.

Acoustic Therapy

Sounds in your environment are used to cover up, or mask, the tinnitus. These sounds are used to distract your brain from focusing on the ringing in your ears. Electronic devices that produce white noise, air conditioners, fans, soft music, sound machines or sound relax apps on your phone can all be utilized.

Hearing Aids

Tinnitus is often accompanied by hearing loss. Hearing aids provide the sounds a person is missing, activating the auditory nervous system to reduce the tinnitus and restore neural function. Amplification also allows a patient less listening fatigue and stress resulting in greater relief from their tinnitus.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Similar in concept to acoustic therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy utilizes a wearable sound generator that produces soft patterned acoustic stimuli, matched in pitch and loudness, to of your tinnitus,. This pairing helps desensitize the brain to the sounds of tinnitus.


Cognitive and behavioral relaxation methods can be a practical way to help you manage your tinnitus symptoms by reducing the stress, anxiety and sleeplessness that are often associated with tinnitus.

Call Complete Hearing at 402.489.4418 for more information.