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Tinnitus is the perception of a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears when there's no actual sound. It happens when your brain interprets spontaneous nerve activity as real sound.

Causes of tinnitus include the following:

Tinnitus: what you should know

  • Tinnitus usually doesn't signal a serious health problem, but it is a symptom of some unhealthiness in your hearing system.
  • Tinnitus can contribute to depression, anxiety and memory issues.
  • Treatment options may include hearing aids, counseling and cochlear implants.
  • Noise-induced hearing loss is among the most common causes of tinnitus. Avoiding frequent exposure to loud noises can help prevent tinnitus.

How can I get help for tinnitus?

Most people will experience tinnitus on occasion. If you experience it constantly or if becomes bothersome, see your primary care doctor, who can help determine the cause. Your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist or to an audiologist

Care for tinnitus at Rush

  • Hearing aids may be helpful for people with hearing loss and tinnitus. Audiologists with the hearing aid program at Rush can help find the hearing aid that best suits your needs.
  • Cochlear implants, which bring in outside sounds that can help mask tinnitus, may help some people with severe hearing loss and tinnitus. Experts at the Auditory Implant Program at Rush can help determine if a cochlear implant is right for you.
  • Doctors may recommend antidepressants or antianxiety medication to help patients with tinnitus.

Why choose Rush for tinnitus care

  • Collaborative care. Primary care physicians and ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists at Rush will work closely with a team of audiologists to determine the best treatment for your tinnitus. At Rush, patients have access to the full range of treatment options, from medications to hearing aids and cochlear implants.
  • Nationally recognized expertise. The ENT program at Rush is ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and is the highest-ranked ENT program in Illinois.

Departments and programs that treat this condition