Image shows a man suffering from tinnitus

Your guide to tinnitus
Have you ever experienced buzzing, hissing or ringing in your ears? You could be experiencing tinnitus. It’s a common condition, and although we don’t completely understand it yet, no-one who has tinnitus should have to suffer from it. 
You can follow this guide for information about what tinnitus is, how to prevent it and ways to reduce its impact on your life.

What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of sound in your ears or head, but the noise doesn’t come from the outside world. It can be constant or it can come and go.
It’s quite common and affects about 13% of the UK population (that’s around 1 in 8) .
Tinnitus isn’t a disease by itself, but usually a common symptom of other conditions related to your ears and hearing.
This doesn’t mean it isn’t serious; it causes a lot of stress, worry and anxiety for many people.

What are the tinnitus symptoms?

Tinnitus is often described as a continuous sound, although there is no external sound source.

Many people who suffer from tinnitus say it’s like a constant ringing in the ears, or a white noise, like an analogue radio or TV that hasn’t quite been tuned in.

Other people say it’s like a hissing or buzzing sound, but the descriptions vary depending on the underlying causes of the tinnitus and its severity. People have described tinnitus sounding like:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Whooshing
  • Whistling

This video shows people describing their tinnitus, so you can see just how widely it can vary from person to person.