Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What's causing constant ringing/buzzing in my ears and how can I stop it?"
For the past few months, I've noticed a constant ringing or buzzing in my ears. Even when I'm watching TV or listening to music, I can hear the noise. Recently, it's gotten louder and louder until it's hard for me to focus on what I'm doing. I haven't had any head injuries and I don't have headaches or hearing loss. What could be causing this and how can I stop it because the constant noise is driving me up a wall.
Thank you for your question. Ringing in the ears is known to doctors as tinnitus. It can be quite unpleasant, and can seem to interfere with almost all parts of life. Fortunately, there is much that can be done to help you diagnose and live with the condition. First, speaking with an otolaryngology-head and neck surgeon (AKA ENT AKA ear nose and throat surgeon) is the best place to start for most people. He or she will likely recommend a hearing test to determine if there is any associated hearing loss. For reasons that are not completely understood, tinnitus is associated with hearing loss for some people. There has been a long held belief that tinnitus represents the brain's response to an absence of sound in the setting of hearing loss, although this does appear to be a gross over simplification. After a hearing test, your doctor may feel the need to complete some other testing, possibly including some imaging such as an MRI. This will help him or her to more fully understand your condition and make recommendations. Some people find that white noise can help to improve their symptoms. Please speak with your doctor about your complaint.