Tinnitus affects you in different ways. You may only notice it when you go to bed at night after a loud concert, or you may find that the constant noise seriously affects your day-to-day quality life. Whatever the severity, you will have one thing in common: a high-pitched whistling, buzzing, ringing, humming or 'roaring ocean' sound in one or both ears.
Whether your tinnitus occurs daily or at specific times, it can have a noticeable effect on your concentration levels and ability to focus on other sounds or conversations around you. You may find that the condition worsens according to posture, often due to the pressure changes associated with moving your head or lying down. The noise can also seem more prominent when you're feeling tired, stressed or are in noticeably quiet surroundings.
Severe or long-standing tinnitus symptoms tend to align with one of three categories outlined below:
As tinnitus symptoms are so diverse, you may not realise you have the condition until it becomes significantly worse. You may mistake a regular exterior noise in your life to be coming from within. Before self-diagnosing, consider your surroundings:
If you only notice the noise when you're in one particular environment, the chances are your tinnitus will pass or it is in fact an outside noise.
However, if you’ve noticed a quiet buzz or another sound for longer than a week, it is worth consulting your doctor. If you have also been suffering from headaches, dizziness or physical pain, make an appointment quickly as tinnitus can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Our expert hearing care professionals can provide any additional support and advice as to next steps and whether hearing aids might be something to explore as many have tinnitus options and settings to help the symptoms.