Tinnitus is the term for the sensation of hearing a sound in the absence of any external sound. Symptoms of tinnitus are you may hear different types of sound, for example, ringing, whooshing or humming or buzzing in the ear. These can be continuous or they can come and go. The tinnitus might seem like it’s in one ear or both, in the middle of the head or even be difficult to pinpoint.
Some people may think the noise is coming from outside and hunt for it until they discover it’s actually inside them!
Occasionally people have tinnitus that has a musical quality and can seem like a familiar tune or song. This generally occurs in older people who have a hearing loss and a strong musical interest. This type of tinnitus is known as musical tinnitus or musical hallucination.
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Tinnitus is very common and is reported in all age groups, even young children. About 30% of people will experience tinnitus at some point in their lives but the number of people who live with persistent tinnitus is approximately 13% (over 1 in 8). Tinnitus is more common in people who have hearing loss or other ear problems, but it can also be found in people with normal hearing.
The experience of tinnitus is different for different people. Most people find that they are able to continue their normal day-to-day activities. However, a small percentage of people with tinnitus report it as severely affecting them.