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 (550 Responses)
  1. priligy

    priligy for sale uk priligy dapoxetine

    May 5, 2021 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. mind group

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 5, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Free Private Proxy Server Link

    Hi I am so delighted I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was looking on Aol for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a remarkable post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the superb work.


    May 5, 2021 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. spectrum near me


    May 5, 2021 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. truck rust repair near me


    May 5, 2021 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. box truck replacement

    Right here is the right site for everyone who really wants to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that's been discussed for a long time. Wonderful stuff, just excellent!


    May 6, 2021 at 06:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. aralen for sale

    chloroquinolone https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine drug class

    May 6, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. instant covid testing near me


    May 6, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. chevy dealership near me

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after looking at some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely pleased I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!


    May 6, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. nearby rv repair

    There is definately a great deal to know about this topic. I love all of the points you made.


    May 6, 2021 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Used Forklift Service California

    Good information. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!


    May 6, 2021 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Total Wine Kegs

    Howdy! This blog post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I'll forward this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thank you for sharing!


    May 6, 2021 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. cars for sale near me


    May 7, 2021 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv repair riverside ca

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the finest blogs on the web. I will highly recommend this web site!


    May 7, 2021 at 06:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Forklift Dealer Orange County

    Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


    May 7, 2021 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Forklift Maintenance Orange County


    May 7, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. cloud bread keto diet

    Hi there, just wanted to say, I loved this article. It was helpful.
    Keep on posting!

    May 7, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. coinstar near me

    Excellent article! We are linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.


    May 7, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. chloroquine malaria prophylaxis

    chloroquine amazon https://chloroquineorigin.com/ is chloroquine safe

    May 7, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. mobile home supplies orange county ca


    May 7, 2021 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Social Media Marketing Center

    Great site you've got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    May 7, 2021 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Video Marketing Pros

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe that this web site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the advice!


    May 7, 2021 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Social Media Marketing Service


    May 8, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Internet Marketing Mentors


    May 8, 2021 at 03:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. dapoxetine

    buy avanafil dapoxetine for sale in australia

    May 8, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Lela Molenda

    I use a trick all the time..since I wash dishes with rubber gloves, there's always one there...I did buy and OXO for trade shows, when I have to open multiple jars...


    May 8, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Content Marketing Agencies

    I'm extremely pleased to find this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff on your blog.


    May 8, 2021 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. collision experts fargo

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who was conducting a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this matter here on your website.


    May 8, 2021 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Local Marketing Agency

    Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!


    May 8, 2021 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Content Marketing Orange County

    It’s difficult to find experienced people for this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 8, 2021 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. what is clonidine

    hloroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ premature babies wikipedia

    May 8, 2021 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Social Media Marketing Help Near Me


    May 8, 2021 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Video Marketing Consultant


    May 8, 2021 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Video Marketing Companies


    May 9, 2021 at 01:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Internet Marketing Management


    May 9, 2021 at 03:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Internet Marketing Programs

    Very good info. Lucky me I discovered your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!


    May 9, 2021 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Local Marketing Jobs

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after going through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!


    May 9, 2021 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Google Marketing Services

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the most useful sites online. I'm going to recommend this website!


    May 9, 2021 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Video Marketing Business

    I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I found this during my search for something relating to this.


    May 9, 2021 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Google Marketing Studio


    May 9, 2021 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Internet Marketing Company Near Me


    May 9, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Social Media Marketing Agency Around Me


    May 10, 2021 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Baker's Vapor

    Has anyone shopped at All in One Ecigarette Shop located in 217-D W Wade Hampton Blvd?


    May 10, 2021 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Digital Marketing Program

    Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 10, 2021 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Internet Marketing Businesses


    May 11, 2021 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Social Media Marketing Agency California


    May 11, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Google Marketing Companies


    May 11, 2021 at 06:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Content Marketing Ideas


    May 11, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Social Media Marketing Company California


    May 11, 2021 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Leave a Reply to BonusLikes Twitter Retweets


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

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.