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Understanding Tinnitus

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Tinnitus is the name for noises you hear that are not caused by an outside source. It is not usually a sign of any serious conditions and generally improves over time. However, some people suffer very annoying and/or debilitating noise in their ears.

Whilst there is no cure for Tinnitus, there are ways to manage it, that your GP can help you with.


Tinnitus can sound like:

  • ringing

  • buzzing

  • whooshing

  • humming

  • hissing

  • throbbing

  • music or singing

You may hear these sounds in 1 or both ears, or in your head. They may come and go, or you might hear them all the time.more of what interests them.


You should see your GP if:

  • you have tinnitus regularly or constantly, especially if it’s on one side only

  • your tinnitus is getting worse

  • your tinnitus is bothering you – for example, it’s affecting your sleep or concentration

Ask for an urgent GP appointment if you have tinnitus:

  • after a head injury

  • with sudden hearing loss, weakness in the muscles of your face, or a spinning sensation (vertigo)

  • that beats in time with your pulse

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