Tinnitus is abnormal noise perceived in one or both ears or in the head. Tinnitus (pronounced either “TIN-uh-tus” or “tin- NY-tus”) can be either a constant or continuous sound or intermittent. The types of sounds may include such things as a ringing, hissing, whistling, buzzing, or clicking sound and can vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal.
Tinnitus is very common. Most studies indicate the prevalence in adults as falling within the range of 10% to 15%, with a greater prevalence at higher ages, through the sixth or seventh decade of life. The most common form of tinnitus is subjective tinnitus, which is noise that other people cannot hear. The rarer form, objective tinnitus can be heard by an examiner positioned close to the ear.