Medical Definition of Ringing in the ears

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ringing in the ears: Medically called tinnitus, can be due to many causes including ear infections, fluid in the ears, Meniere syndrome (the combination of tinnitus and deafness), some medications such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aging, and ear trauma (such as from the noise of planes, firearms, or loud music). In rare situations, tinnitus may also be due to an aneurysm or an acoustic neuroma (a benign tumor on the acoustic nerve). Woodwind players are more likely to experience tinnitus than other orchestral players, probably because they usually sit just in front of the brass. If tinnitus persists or its cause is unknown, a hearing test (audiogram) should be done. Measures can be taken to lessen the intensity of tinnitus or to mask it.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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