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June 29th, 2011
07:24 AM ET

How can I stop this high-pitched noise?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Question asked by Alex from Bulgaria

Two weeks ago I began having a really disturbing sound in my ears. The noise is constant, with high frequency. I can hear it almost all the time, especially in the mornings. Why is this happening? I have not had any accidents. What can I do about it?

Expert answer:

I believe what you are describing is called tinnitus.

It is a sound that can be a buzzing, ringing, hissing or other noise. It is perceived as a sound near the head or within one or both ears. The sound can be continuous, pulsating or intermittent.

It is estimated that one out of every six people experience tinnitus for a prolonged period at some time during his or her life. Most are older.

A quarter of those experiencing it have such severe tinnitus that it affects their daily activities.

A general practice physician might refer the patient with tinnitus to an otolaryngologist (a doctor specializing in diseases of the ears, nose and throat). The physician will interview the patient, taking a history of the symptoms, getting a description of the noise and do a complete head and neck examination, with emphasis on the nerves of the head and neck (cranial nerves).

The patient should also have a hearing evaluation. Other tests are often warranted, depending on the circumstances.

In the discussion, the physician will be looking for a history of noise exposure or a head injury that could have caused inner ear injury.

Symptoms suggesting jaw problems (tempromandibular joint, or TMJ), hypertension, atherosclerosis or neurologic illnesses such as multiple sclerosis are pertinent, because they can cause tinnitus.

A review of the patient's drugs and supplements also is necessary. Aspirin, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, anti-hypertensives and anti-depressants are among the more than 20 common drugs that can cause tinnitus.

When tinnitus is pulsing, rushing, flowing or humming, a vascular problem should be suspected. This can be a constriction of blood flow in an artery.

Vascular-based tinnitus often changes intensity or pitch with changes in head motion or body position (lying, sitting, or standing).

Clicking tinnitus is commonly due to drugs or problems in the middle ear. A high-pitched continuous tone is commonly the result of a nerve or inner ear injury. Treatment is aimed at fixing the underlying abnormality, when it can be identified.

Cochlear (inner ear) implants can benefit some patients with severe inner ear nerve damage and hearing loss. Vascular abnormalities can be fixed surgically.

Medical treatments for this condition, other than removing a drug that causes tinnitus, have limited effectiveness.

For many the goal should be to lessen awareness and impact on quality of life. Biofeedback and cognitive behavior therapy may be useful.


soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. f16bmathis

    tinnitus sucks. There is no miracle drug that makes it go away, so don't be fooled by the ads.

    June 29, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ron2233

      My tinnitis started while I was in my junior year of college. Prior to this ringing in my ear, I required complete silence to study effectively. One day I was studying in one of the campus libraries and my ears just started ringing in an extremely high pitch tone that has never stopped. This completely wrecked my life at that point. The tinnitis sent me into an 8 month extreme depression. I just wanted to rip my inner ear out. The damage had been done by the time I was able to adjust. I graduated, but I am sure I would have done much better had this not happened. For those of you who are getting this for the first time, just remember that eventually the ringing will become part of your existence and for the most part you will not notice it. It took me about a year and half to reach that point. Good Luck.

      June 29, 2011 at 09:47 | Report abuse |
    • Coati

      If the tinnitus is in only one ear... and if there is asymmetrical loss of hearing (same ear) ... without a proximate cause (injury) consider the possibility of a accoustic schwannoma. (tumor on the hearing nerve).

      In my case that is the cause of my tinnitus. If left untreated the tumor can grow and effect balance as well as other nearby nerves associated with facial control, sensation as well as taste.

      An MRI should be able to confirm or rule out this possibility.

      June 29, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      My friends started when she got on an elevator with a woman wearing heavy perfume. She had an instant allergy reaction and was left with a ringing in her ears. As soon as she got to work (nursing) the doctor had to give her a shot. She saw a lot of specialist, and nothing worked. After 3 years it began to lessen and finally went away. She keeps out of perfume, and candle shops.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:38 | Report abuse |
  2. cody

    I have had this severe ringing in my ears every since I had an operation. When I woke up it was there and has been there ever since (3 years) have went to specialists and no one can do anything about it. Its hard to go to sleep at night because of the noise. Need a miracle bad

    June 29, 2011 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Heather

      Hi Cody – I have had tinnitis for years. I have had the neck and arterys checked and the full meal deal. Someone told me that acupuncture is said to work but I have not tried it yet. To get to sleep at night, put the TV on just loud enough to mask the sound in your ears. This has worked for me for a long time now. It is said that if it is really bothering you during the day, have the radio or TV just a little louder and you won't notice it at much. Right now mine is competing with the white noise/AC in the office.

      June 29, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Try putting a radio or tv on with enough volume to help mask the sound but not loud enough to keep you awake. I have had these symptoms for several years now and this helps with falling asleep. My spouse has gotten use to having the tv on and I set the sleep timer so it goes off after I'm asleep. She is understanding of my condition.

      June 29, 2011 at 09:57 | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      My tennitus was caused by loud music at concerts. I went for years long before asssiged seating and I am sure I was up there next to the industrial speakers. I have had this for about 5 years and it is really awful. I am a credit manager and attend alot of meetings and the hearing loss is emberrassing. I hate it. Its the worse part of my life!!

      June 29, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
  3. riprap

    I have intermittent tinnitus and I avoid restaurants and shopping areas that play music. Why do they need music which only adds to the discomfort? I have asked at least a dozen stores why they play music and none have answered.

    June 29, 2011 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Margaret

      They play the music because some expert told them it would increase sales. Notice the type of music. It is not all the same. If sales are sluggish they may play more upbeat music. I noticed in Sprouts they play oldies and a lot of us go along humming along, and piling stuff into our carts. I rarely get out of there under $75. It has been proven music affects your mood. I was in one store and the music was grating, I practically ran around the store, bought very few things and got right out. Never went back.

      June 29, 2011 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
  4. Judi

    My mom suffers from tinnitis also. She uses lipoflavonoid when ever she has problem. Works everytime.

    June 29, 2011 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pat

      Hi Judy, I am 56 yr. old and have been diagnosed w/otosclerosis, hardening of the bone in the middle ear.

      I thought i had tin. also until i had the diagnosis. How did you find out about the lipoflavonoid? Is there a web site to do research on this?

      Thank you so much.

      Pat

      June 30, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
  5. Bubba

    If you are taking aspirin, consider stopping it and see if the tinnitus abates. Get the wax out of your ears with a kit. See if nasal decongestant stops it for a few minutes? Sometimes it's air coming up your ears and actually whistling out, but that's only in one ear.

    June 29, 2011 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. carolae

    I was 70 when this happened to me. Had finished dinner and my husband left for a meeting. I turned the TV on and all of a sudden I got this loud ringing in my ears...it's still there. At first, it was annoying especially when you go to bed. However, during the daytime, I never notice it as I am retired and do activities (cards, etc) daily at the clubhouse. I never had the doctor check it out. My hearing is exceptional and can probably hear a pin drop. I remember my mom having this but she, too, didn't see a doctor. I've gotten accustomed to it now so hopefully one day, it will just disappear as quickly as it came.

    June 29, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Parker

    I have severe tinnitus and have seen all possible relevant medical professionals. Have had many, many tests. Tried acupuncture, neurofeedback, cognitive behavior therapy. I have had about a 40% reduction in noise from high quality ginkgo, 2 capsules 2 x a day. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, sugar, fast food, alcohol, loud noises. I had a moderate level of tinnitus most of my life, but due to a necessary medication it suddenly sky-rocketed. Turn on radio off channel, get static, check volume level to keep track of loudness. I find that helps when I must change medications. Good luck to anyone else who suddenly finds themselves with this problem. It often happens as we age and our hearing level drops.

    June 29, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Parker

      I also had learned to just live with it. However, when it went sky-high loud, I attempted to seek help. Over the last few years since it went much louder, I have done my best to just adjust. Most of the time I can live with it, but it's now too loud to ignore. To try to mask it with a sound as loud would mean living with a sound that is probably loud enough to damage my hearing. I went to a well know specialist for tinnitus – he gave me Xanax, which caused a permanent – repeat – permanent loss of libido. Be careful of what you take! I was only warned that I might have a slight bit of grogginess at first which would pass. I also lost half of my hair over a period of several months after stopping the Xanax. So, now at night, I concentrate on the noise while I try to sleep. But it is always, always, always there and always, always, always extremely loud. The Xanax also made the tinnitus louder for me. Permanently.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Noor

      Tinnitus Pulse How You Can Banish Pulsatile Tinnitus Categories: Posts | Tags: Banish, Heart, Pulsatile, Tinnitus Notice: This work is licensed under a BY-NC-SA. Permalink: Tinnitus Pulse How You Can Banish Pulsatile Tinnitus Tinnitus Chiropractic This Is The Present Placement

      May 27, 2012 at 01:41 | Report abuse |
  8. Laura

    I was diagnosed with tinnitus 3 years ago at age 49. The origin is unknown, but it is my constant companion. It appears louder when there are no other sounds so I have adapted to the constant high-pitched tone – it is now my mantra when I meditate. I cannot control it but I can accept it, and that allows me the freedom to enjoy life and avoid stressing about it.

    June 29, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amy

      Laura, that is a brilliant idea – to use the tone as a meditation focus! I also suffer from tinnitus. Initially it was very hard to deal with but now I barely notice it. I would classify my tinnitus as being mild-moderate, it is always there,a high ringing tone that is more noticible (of course) during silence or near silence. As many others have said, there is no cure, you just have to accomodate yourself to it.

      June 29, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
    • ercillor

      Laura,
      Pulcatile Tinitus (tinnitus which keeps time with your puls) can be caused by heart valve problems, in particular one called aortic stenosis. If you have pulcatile tinnitus you should see a highly experienced physician - preferably a cardiologist - in order to rule out this dangerous possibility. No, a chiropractor cannot help with heart valve problems although an experienced one might detect a heart murmur and refer you to a cardiologist.
      Goodluck,
      ercillor

      May 21, 2014 at 17:47 | Report abuse |
  9. f

    I have tinnitus mostly in my left ear, but a little bit in the right ear. I woke up one day with it and I assmued I was getting an ear infection. I waited a few days for it to get worse (and I would go to the doctor) or go away. It didn't get worse or better and has been constant and steady ever since. I went to a TMJ doctor (who did help a little), 2 ENTs, had many hearing tests done, MRIs, blood tests ,etc ,etc. Long story short they all concluded that I was perfectly healthy and I just suffer from tinnitus and some left ear hearing loss, probably caused by or connected to the tinnitus. About 8 months later I had a huge seizure at work. I thought I was having a stroke. Turns out after weeks of more new doctors, new tests and MRIs, I was diagnosed with MS. I have great doctors for the MS and I am doing fine on my medicine. I just have the tinnitus from HELL still and about 50% hearing loss. There is NO cure so don't buy the internet/late night TV ads. I've tried several. A fan in the bedroom covers much of the sound at night when it is loudest (due to no background noise to cover it up.)

    June 29, 2011 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ercillor

      f,
      Have you seen a cardiologist? It sometimes takes an experienced one to detect a heart murmur as the cause of pucatile tinnitus.
      Goodluck,
      ercillor

      May 21, 2014 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
  10. Grasp of the Obvious

    Gee, that sucks!

    June 29, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • iamthefredman

      What sucks? The tinnitus or the MS? LOL ! I am 48 yo. For me the tinnitus sucks way more than the MS. No improvement in the tinnitus. But, My MS doctors are great and the medicine I am on has kept me totally healthy for 5 years now. I thought I would be drooling in a wheelchair by 5 years. But happy to report I am fine and running races all the time still. Ran a 6:10mile in a 5K race on Monday. Woo-Hoo ! ! ! !

      June 29, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
  11. bam

    is this the same ringing palin was talking about from Paul Revere?

    June 29, 2011 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. angelaD

    I got mine the year I graduated from college 17 years ago for no reason besides maybe stress. At first I thought I am going crazy. I had every possible treatment and diagnostic test that is out there including the oxygen chamber..... I was and am completely healthy. I have accepted the noise and it is part of me now. Luckily I can sleep just fine and the noise only bothers me sometimes. I go to the specialist every couple of years or so just in case they have invented something new :-). So far there is nothing. One doctor helped me very much when he explained to me that I don't have a decease but only a syndrome and that I should happily accept it. BTW the lipoflavonoid seem to work a little bit but are no permanent cure and very expensive. I want to give you hope, you can live with this just fine!

    June 29, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • iamthefredman

      I tried the Lipoflavinoids. I hate taking pills. 3 pills a day for 30 days. Costs a fortune, and it did nothing until the bottle was almost empty at about 26 days. I didn't bother getting another bottle. After one day without pills, the tinnitus came right back.

      June 29, 2011 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
  13. Lorraine

    There are many possible causes for tinnitus, but a common one not mentioned here is pulsed microwave radiation from wifi, cell phones, mobile phones, cell towers and smart meters. Even if you don't think you have wifi, your computer modem may be radiating all the time, or you might be getting it from your neighbour's computer. My own tinnitus started 5 years ago, mild at first, but eventually started to increase in pitch and volume whenever I passed a cell tower or entered a building with wifi. When I went up north to a clear area, it would disappear entirely, and still does, although the clear areas are becoming rarer due to smart meters. It can take 1 or 2 days for symptoms to disappear entirely, as though my brain needs time to settle down. Get rid of your wifi, cell phones, and mobiles. Cell phones themselves can cause permanent tinnitus.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      There is no evidence that these things cause or exacerbate tinnitus. They operate well above our ability to hear and are EM, not sound. If you really think these are making things worse for you, I really recommend to get a CAT scan to look for brain abnormalities - not being insulting, but about the only way these could cause tinnitus is if you have a serious brain issue.

      June 29, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
    • Art

      My tinnitus is related to a few different factors: anxiety, NSAID's, allergies.
      Based on what you are saying, it sounds a lot like anxiety. You should talk to a good otolaryngologist who may allay some of your concerns about wifi, etc. and get you on some anti-anxiety medication (an SSRI or like, not just Xanax).

      June 29, 2011 at 17:45 | Report abuse |
    • carl

      Radio waves are one thing we can be sure is NOT causing tinnitus.

      Radio waves simply do not interact with human matter unless the signal is strong enough to cause RF burns, and that kind of thing happens with analog transmitters designed to travel many miles (analog signals are much stronger than digital). And you would know it if a radio transmitter was strong enough to affect you, because it would literally be burning your skin. And it would be your skin, because unlike air vibrations which affect your inner ear cells more than your skin cells, microwaves don't care.

      All of the accused radio signals which supposedly cause health problems are much weaker than other transmissions which people have been exposed to their whole lives. Wifi is so weak that it barely works at 100 feet unless the two devices have direct line-of-sight connection. You are getting more exposure to radio waves from your neighbor's cordless phone than from your laptop's wifi, and both of those things are much weaker than the local radio station 3 miles from the office you worked at your whole life.

      Yet another problem with such theories is that radio signals do not have different effects on different people. Health problems like allergies vary among different people because immune response is based on a variety of protein interactions within our bodies which can be completely different depending on the exact genetic structure of a person's immune cells. Imagine a lock-and-key system involving thousands of teeth on the key, and one change can alter whether or not the system works properly. Radio waves do not have different effects on proteins if one amino acid unit out of thousands is changed–the data is different, but it's still the same kind of matter. That would be like expecting a book to either burn or not burn in an oven depending on the plot of the story it contains.

      June 30, 2011 at 06:25 | Report abuse |
  14. Jinner

    If you are fortunate enough to have someone in your area that specializes in tinnitus (an ENT or audiologist) I would highly recommend going to see them. I know that in the Milwaukee area the Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin have a Tinnitus and Hyperacusis program to help manage this condition. I haven't been to one, but I've seen that they provide some free (I think) educational opportunities as well in the area where they talk about causes of tinnitus, ways to deal with it and potential treatments. http://www.mcw.edu/ENT/ClinicalServices/KossHearingandBalanceCenter/Tinnitus

    June 29, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. bachmanntwit

    That shrill sound you hear is actually Michele Bachmann giving a speech. But I've heard that she and Palin both make sounds only animals could hear.

    June 29, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Steve

    off topic and incredibly ignorant

    June 29, 2011 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Marc

    I've had ringing in my year for many many years. I'm 19 now and when I was young, I use to have problems all the time with my ears. I'd get ear infections about 2-3 times a year and some times they were so bad, liquid would pour out of my ear.

    I haven't had an ear infection in about 2-3 years now, before I use to get them every year. My mother went through the same thing as me. Ear infections seem to eventually stop occurring, but can come back in adulthood for short periods.

    Anyways, ron2233 is correct. The ringing will always be with you, but eventually you don't even notice it. I only notice the ringing if I really pay attention to it, if i'm in an extremely quiet place, if I think about the ringing, there it is! If I'm busy in a quiet room, I don't notice it... Kinda odd, but makes sense.

    June 29, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      I always notice my tinnitus. Sometimes it is not as bad as others, but it never stops. Quiet rooms are the worst.

      June 29, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
  18. bachmanntwit

    Does your trailer park manager know you're playing with his computer again today ?

    June 29, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • svann

      Next time you reply to someone it would be helpful to hit the reply button instead of the post button.

      June 29, 2011 at 17:48 | Report abuse |
  19. palintwit

    I'd rather be locked in a room full of squeaky balloons than have to listen to The Shrilla from Wasilla.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Dude

    I take 2 mg of valium at night, prescribed by my Otologist. It definitely helps me sleep without the buzzing in my ears. During the day, the background noises of day to day are enough to drown it out. Stress causes an increase flare up. I have Meniere's Disease as well. Not too bad vertigo though, thank goodness.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • vtrweasel

      I've had it for 6 years, anxiety's defiantly a trigger and when it's bad it causes vertigo. I'm taking 5mg of Valium a day and that's about the only thing that helps. Mine was caused by motorcycles, loud music and guns. It started when I was 37. My Dr. gave me some neck & shoulder exercises to do but they don't seem to help. Good luck.

      June 29, 2011 at 20:09 | Report abuse |
  21. John

    I have long term tinnitus in both ears due to hearing loss, have had it for several years now. Caffiene, aspirin, and other things can make it much worse, but it is always there and makes it very difficult to fall asleep, especially since it gets worse when I am tired. The only things which work for me are to eliminate any drugs or food which make it worse, try to keep a good sleep routine, and use a white noise machine or fan near my bed.

    June 29, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. kathdunkin

    The hardest thing about it is to hear friends talking when in a semi-noisy restaurant. Background noise really has a bad effect on it - it becomes a battle between the background noise and the tinnitus - and the tinnitus always wins - it just gets louder.

    June 29, 2011 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      If the ringing/whistling gets worse as the background noise increases, it may not be tinnitus. With tinnitus, usually the presence of background noise makes things easier. It is usually when things are quiet that the tinnitus gets really noticable. Of course this is not to say this is always the case, but based on what you describe, I'd consult a specialist to make sure it isn't something else.

      June 29, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • stoptheringing

      I have the same issue. I avoid eating out or going to parties because it's just a waste of time since I cannot interact. An audiologist said I have symmetrical hearing loss at high frequency due to a genetic defect (not damage to inner ear). I can't discern when someone whispers or speaks too softly. I also miss a lot of dialogue on films or TV if the actors are speaking that way. No amount of volume makes a difference.
      I do find it frustrating, also, that I was told hearing aids might solve the problem but it is not considered medically necessary
      so insurance would not cover any of the expense.

      June 29, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
  23. dan winter

    whole new level of meaning when you see the phase relationship to sacral spinal pump-
    wave mechanics of kundalini- ear ringing can be a prelude to forms of spiritual experience-
    the difference between insanity and enlightenment CAN be understanding the biology
    – note how bentov MEASURED the frequency heard ringing in the ears- in phase with ekg and spin pump
    as kundalini biomechanics in 'stalking the wild pendulum' – exerpt – discussion-
    http://www.goldenmean.info/kundalini

    June 29, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. ex-sarge

    I have had a ringing in my ears for the past 20+ years, about 6 months ago it got much louder. tests revealed no cause, no hearing loss (my hearing is pretty good for my age). my doctor recommended "retraining" my ears. he said that I had gotten so used to listening for the ringing that I had "trained" myself to listen for it over everything else. now when I notice that I am indeed listening to the ringing I purposely try to listen for something else, anything else, wind in the trees, radio static, conversations at other tables, anything so that I stop listening to the ringing. it's been about three months and the ringing is still there, but the retraining seems to be helping.

    June 29, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Art

      I think I do the same thing. SSRI's may help with the anxiety/obsessive component of it. Once I start hearing a ringing in my ears, it can take a month or more for my brain to let go.

      June 29, 2011 at 21:57 | Report abuse |
  25. Ben Hutchins

    As a tinnitus sufferer myself, let me clue you in to the code: basically, what that last paragraph is saying is, "Sorry, pal, can't help you."

    June 29, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. PTD

    I I have Menieres and tennitus. The Collier Center for Communication Disorders in Dallas, Texas is on the cutting edge regarding remedy for tennitus. 80% of the time, your brain will compensate and adjust to the ringing over time. My Otologist recommends 3 2mg Valiums daily, Lipoflavinoids, a liquid histamine under the tongue daily, no caffeine, less that 2000 mg of salt daily, 50mg Niacin twice daily and a Benedryl before bedtime. This reduces a substantial amount of the "volume". White noise at night helps going to sleep.

    June 29, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeafGuy

      I came down with meningitis as an adult. As a result all my hearing was destroyed and I had super bad tinnitus for many years. 20 years after I had cochlear implants put in, got a lot of hearing back and managed to get a little relief from the tinnitus. Even so, I have a lot of noise issues. Various drugs were tried to no good result. Valium has turned out to be the best overall help. Not every day, just when the noise is very severe. Two days, 5 ~ 10 mgs per day and I get relief. Sleep is very important as is limiting the amount of caffiene taken in. High blood pressure is bad for this too. It can be managed though so never give up.

      June 30, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  27. df

    I've not had the extensive continual ringing (years long) but I have experienced tinnitus many times that would last usually on the order of half an hour.

    I have to say that after I started going to a good chiropractor (which itself takes a lot or research to find one that works for you) and addressed having an all around healthy body, I have not experienced tinnitus nearly as frequently as before (nor the lower back/hip pain either).

    Just something people may want to look into, but as always your results may vary (I understand that some conditions make tinnitus incurable).

    June 29, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Mightaswellbe

    My head rings, the noise is high pitched and centered. Been this way for decades. I blame a life around airplanes, B-52s as a kid and P-3s as an adult. 20 years and 4000 hours as an airborne sonar operator did my hearing no good.

    On top of the constant ringing I will occasionaly have one of my hears crank up and ring solo at a slightly diffenent pitch. This is really odd because I can feel that ear sort of swell up as it turns on. Rings for a minute or so and then stops.

    June 29, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. David

    For a good, reliable source of information about tinnitus, go to the American Tinnitus Association website, lots of good helpful information there. http://www.ata.org

    June 29, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Bianca68

    I have suffered from hearing problems since I was a child. As got older the ringing problem became more severe – to the point, that some days I wanted to beat my head against a wall. Then I started keeping a diary of what I ate. On days when I ate salty foods (such as chips, lunchmeats) I noticed the tinnitus was much louder the next day. And, in particular, any kind of cheese would cause louder ringing. So, in addition to the health benefits, I am on a low (and I do mean low) sodium plan. Less than 1,000mg or less of sodium is the daily limit. No packaged foods, no processed foods, no fast food. And no cheese. The results – there are days when I wake with ringing as low as 1 or 2 on a scale of ten. It requires a commitment but it can be done. I sympathize with those suffering with no relief and hope that someday someone will do research to find the cause – and create a cure.

    June 29, 2011 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. blessedgeek

    I believe my tinnitus is due to my brain concocting a reverse phase to counter noise.

    I first noticed my tinnitus as a child. Whenever I had been exposed to a high frequency sound and when the source of that sound is turned off, I would still hear that sound for the next 10 or 30 minutes. I always thought that it was normal and that everyone would experience it.

    I had a dual pentium-D computer which therefore required a very strong and noisy fan. When I upgraded to a newer quieter computer which had lower power consumption, I found that after using it for hours and having it turned off every night, I would be hearing high frequency sound when I went to sleep. I believe that the quieter computer was not really quiet, but the manufacturer had pushed the fan noise to frequencies not normally audible (except by people like me who can hear up to 22kHz). Being able to hear high frequencies is very disrupting because they interfere with my hearing people speaking to me, especially when there are a lot of "quiet" machines operating nearby.

    I really think that the brain attempts to concoct reverse (180 degree) phase impulses in an attempt to cancel out noise. At least mine does. I think my brain even concocts a reverse smell impulse so that after half an hour walking into a really smelly place, my brain gets desensitized to it and no longer finds the room smelly.

    June 29, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. David B.

    I've had tinnitus for 20 years now, and have learned to live with it. The first six months or so were the most difficult. Most of the time I'm not aware of the sound, even though it never goes away. I learned a lot from the American Tinnitus Assn. (http://www.ata.org/). There is no cure yet, but ATA has the best information on what can help, like sound masking.

    June 29, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Jun

    Acupuncture is also effective for certain types of tinnitus and far less invasive than surgery and drugs.

    June 29, 2011 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Ruth Ann

    Have had tinnitus for over two years now, rarely without the sound of crickets in both ears. As wioth others, affecting my activities of daily living as the noise overrode conversations with friends, etc. While researching on-line I found a reference to cranio-sacral therapy helping some (key word – SOME) so I tried it. Found a local cranio-sacral therapist with several years experience. After 4 treatments, I was lucky enough to have a reduction in the noise level and after six treatments, I was approx. 70% improved. I have stretched my treatments to monthly (from weekly at first) and can tell when my appointment time is getting close, as the noise gets louder and more consistent. It's made a big difference for me. Maybe it can help someone else too. Good luck!

    June 29, 2011 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Chris

    Has a smart meter recently been installed on your home? Do you have WiFi in your home? Some people are Electrically hypersensitive (have EHS) and suffer from tinnitus when exposed to EMF sources such as smart meters, cell phones, wifi, and cell towers. It an develop over time. Something to consider...

    June 29, 2011 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wxbuggin

      I'm not sure if this is what you're talking about, but It ALWAYS drives me up the wall to walk into department stores in malls.. I don't know if it's their security systems or what. But I've got a chronic high pitched ringing in my ear anyways.. and whatever noise I hear walking into some stores is higher and I can hear it above the normal tinnitus. Some older TV's, too.

      June 30, 2011 at 01:46 | Report abuse |
  36. Bob

    If there's a good thing about it, I guess my tinnitus reminds me I'm still alive... although thankfully, it leaves me alone in my dreams (which is why I sleep 12 hours a day)!

    June 29, 2011 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. rick springfield

    My mom has it real bad. I've given her some herbal remedies with little to no effect. The only thing that works for her is to blare the television. I should note that she has totally lost hearing in one ear. None of us like to take her to a movie theatre because she will talk very loud about the scene, actors, etc. To go to sleep at night she will blare her tv on some dish channel. She does this at motels and hotels so none of us like to take her on any trips. There is a treatment that is experimental but i doubt she would do it. It involves a doctor identifying the frequency that you hear and then giving you a device to wear that emits that frequency. After you have worn it for a while your brain learns to mask that frequency. It then goes away but your hearing loss at that frequency is permanent. One theory for the problem is that your brain needs input from the auditory nerves. If that sense is lacking then it makes up for it by creating its own sounds.
    I had a brief encounter with it and took doses of Ginko Biloba for a while. It went away and I think I had an inner ear infection that went away.

    June 29, 2011 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Fiery Buddha

    Stop playing tin whistle.

    June 30, 2011 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. wxbuggin

    My first memory of the high pitched ringing was in 1st grade. I don't know if I had it before then or just started noticing it then. I'm 25, now. I guess I just got used to it more or less. I had tubes in my ears to drain fluid, around that time.. and many ear infections prior to the surgery. Maybe it has something to do with that? I also have a ton of allergies. *shrugs* I'm so used to it that it slips my mind to make an appointment with anyone. It definitely affects hearing, though. And ability to focus/listen.

    June 30, 2011 at 01:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Waida Liu Godfrey

    For first time ringing in the ear sufferers, use the tip of your tongue to press against the roof of your mouth, the noise will go away immediately. Try it.

    June 30, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. klebinek

    http://crohnsdiseasediagnosis.blogspot.com/

    July 1, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Tinnitus Solutions

    I was searching for niacin for tinnitus via Google on Monday, and I found your page How can I stop this high-pitched noise? – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs to be extremely relevant to Tinnitus Solutions. I would like to cooperate with you on my website, so please email me at jeremydurrant@yahoo.com.au if you are interested.

    August 15, 2011 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Allison

    Please tell me where I can purchase lipoflavonoids and niacin at a good price. I have had tinnitis in one ear since I experienced sudden hearing loss in one ear in my 30's. Some of the hearing returned, but I continued to have low-level tinnitis. Recently, I had cataract surgery and developed quite severe tinnitis in the other ear, too. It is somewhat variable, which gives me some hope that I might be able to treat it. I have seasonal fairly severe allergies, and also may have experienced a TIA, which has caused my docs to treat me with half an aspirin and antihypertensives and statins. I'd love to quit taking all this crap to see if the tinnitis stops. They also put me on trazadone to stop hot flashes at night. I have health insurance with Kaiser and my primary care doc has suggested nothing for the tinnitis. What should I do?

    September 6, 2011 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. danny

    I'm not sure if what i'm experiencing is tinnitis but here goes. started to hear a sound in both ears a month ago similar to the sound of intense "thundering" silence – not quite ringing. If I close my eyes and listen to it closely it almost sounds like some sort of frequency b/c slight variations can be detected when I focus all my attention on it while meditating. I think it started sometime after I got into listening to binaural beats a few weeks ago and it has not stopped. Could this be tinnitis? The sound doesn't change if I lie down or stand up – it's just the same sound all the time. Thank you in advance for any feedback.

    November 24, 2011 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • alfred

      If you use chain saws or any machinery lawnmowers,listening devices like music players,or loud riverbarating devices, anything concerts,musical instruments stay away.The best solution for me quiet places

      November 24, 2011 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
  45. bad debt

    Nire comment boikot Amaieran egun horietan . Arrazoia: da Zure temendous bidalketa. Eskerrik asko, duzu liverated me :))

    February 9, 2012 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. sandaura

    visit http://www.sandaura.wordpress.com Many people across the country are hearing this constant noise in our environment which is causing the tinnitus or they are being misdiagnosed. We have forensic expert evidence that this in fact is from microwave frequencies from wireless and broadband communication. It is leaking over the limit emissions into our air as well as being carried by the electric grid into our homes, work places and schools.

    March 25, 2012 at 01:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Paul

    I grew up working around huge saw machines in my dad's lumber mill. I also grew up playing bagpipes from an early age. Sometime around age 20 I noticed a high pitch constant sound that was only audible in quiet places. It has gotten steadily worse and now 40 years later it is loud, constant and never abates. I am used to it but it is very annoying. There is nothing that can be done medically so my advise is that people learn to ignore it and don't be taken in by any quack cures. Not surprisingly, many of us with tinnitus also have hearing loss that we may be unaware of. I have hearing aids now and not only do they help me understand speech and hear subtle sounds like wind and birds, but they also have reduced the tinnitus. Don't be ashamed or afraid to wear hearing aids....they help...after all, no one is embarrassed to wear glasses when their eyes don't focus...right? Go to the ENT and the audiologist if you have tinnitus! I was very glad I did. Is my tinnitus cured? No...but I can live with it......and I still play the bagpipes...but I wear ear protection now.

    March 25, 2012 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. tinnitus tamer

    It's really a great and useful piece of information. I'm happy that you shared this useful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    April 16, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Tinnitus

    While there is still no cure, there are options for treating your symptoms. You can really get relief.

    April 23, 2012 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. ozz

    any one with T shud try turning there wifi off. iv had it for a year now about the same time as i got my internet its been driveing me nuts. and about 2 month ago i think some 1 was trying to hack my wifi so i turned it off and my T started to go away. didnt think it was anything to do with the wifi till i had to reset my router and my wifi came back on and my T came back i turned it back off and a month later 1 ear its gone away about 95% and the other ear about 75% i can sleep no problem now. it seems to be better day by day now. hope this helps some one

    June 18, 2012 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.