Tinnitus or Ringing in Ears

Ear Nose | Otorhinolaryngology | Tinnitus or Ringing in Ears (Symptom)


Tinnitus is the perception of abnormal noises (sounds) in the ear. Usually indicates persistent tinnitus deafness of the sensory reception (cochlear). Intermittent periods of moderate tinnitus, lasting several minutes with high tone, can be found, without pathological significance in people with normal hearing function. When tinnitus is severe and persists for a longer time, it can affect sleep and concentration, leading to the installation of major mental disorders. Pulsatile tinnitus should be differentiated from tonal tinnitus.


Although deafness is often attributed to transmission, this may be more severe symptoms indicating a vascular abnormality such as: carotid tumour (tumour of the carotid - small mass of tissue in the carotid sinus containing chemoreceptor that monitor oxygen levels, carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions in the blood. If the oxygen level decreases, chemoreceptor sends impulses to the heart and respiratory centre to increase breathing and heart rate. Carotid occlusive vascular disease (carotid atherosclerosis); arterio-venous malformation; arterial aneurysm.

Diagnosis and Treatment

CT scan (CAT scan) and angiography are often required to establish the final diagnosis.

Treatment of tinnitus include the following general steps: avoid excessive exposure to noise; avoiding other extrinsic factors that may cause cochlear damage; masking tinnitus with music; reduce tinnitus by amplifying normal sounds.

Usually, tinnitus masking is achieved by using a hearing aid which often is beneficial. Drug treatment consists of intravenous antiarrhythmics (lidocaine), which can reduce tinnitus in some patients. Studies to date suggest that such therapy which is administered orally for a long time brings no real benefit. Of the many drugs that have been tested through trials, oral antidepressants were found to be most effective. A long-term exposure to noise can also lead to installation of permanent tinnitus will have a major impact on daily life: insomnia, restlessness, decreased concentration.