Tinnitus is characterised by a persistent sound in one ear or both ears. It's usually a ringing sound, although many people hear a hissing, roaring or clicking. Symptoms can range from severe to only mildly distracting. The sound may be constant or it may come and go, and may vary from quiet to very loud.
According to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), the condition can be triggered by damage to the ear caused by excessive noise, as well as wax build-up in the ear. Certain medications, ear or sinus infections, jaw misalignment, cardiovascular disease, and some tumours also may cause tinnitus.
While there is no real cure for tinnitus, symptoms may be reduced depending on what causes it. Regular removal of ear wax can reduce the noise for some patients, and others notice improvement from using a cochlear implant. The implant magnifies surrounding noises, which minimizes the ringing sound.
The ATA recommends talking to a doctor or audiologist about the best treatment options for you.