Tinnitus Symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are unmistakable and can be quite frustrating, especially if you experience them on a daily basis. These sensations generally can be summarized as the hearing of "phantom noises," such as ringing, buzzing, hissing, or clicking, that have no identifiable source. There is, however, a wide variety of ways that these sounds manifest themselves.

Subjunctive vs. Objective

There are two main forms of tinnitus: subjective and objective. If you have the subjective form, you are the only one who can hear the sounds in your ears. In the rarer objective form, others can hear the sounds in your ear; these pulsing sounds are often in sync with your heartbeat, which your doctor can confirm with a stethoscope. Less than 5% of people with tinnitus suffer from the objective form.


The specific sound you may experience in your ear or ears can range in pitch from low to high. Tinnitus symptoms can appear in both ears or only in one, even if there is hearing loss in both ears. Additionally, you may even notice a constant sound occurring in one ear while the other only exhibits symptoms on occasion.

Tinnitus can vary in the severity of its symptoms as well. The phantom sounds you may experience can be so soft that you barely notice them. In other instances, the sounds can be so loud that they actually interfere with your everyday life. Your symptoms may also worsen in certain situations. If you consume too much caffeine on a regular basis, you may find that the phantom sounds in your ear worsen. In some cases, tinnitus can appear temporarily when you are on medications such as antidepressants, sedatives, anti-inflammatories, and certain antibiotics.


Some people believe the symptoms of tinnitus are treatable, while others remain skeptical. Some people who suffer from these symptoms have found that if they take gingko biloba tablets on a daily basis, their symptoms are considerably milder. Limiting your intake of caffeine and avoiding smoking may also help.

Last Updated: June 19, 2017