What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the sound of ringing in the ears. It may also described as roaring, buzzing, hissing, or clicking inside the head. The sounds may come and go. Or they may be ongoing. The sound may occur in one or both ears, and vary in pitch. 

Diagnosis and testing for tinnitus

The diagnosis of tinnitus includes a complete history and physical exam. Your health care provider may request an audiological evaluation. Depending on the suspected cause of the tinnitus, other tests may be needed.


Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment based on:

  • How old you are
  • Your overall health and medical history
  • How sick you are
  • How well you can handle specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • How long the condition is expected to last
  • Your opinion or preference

Currently, there is no known cure for tinnitus. However, experts suggest trying one of the following to find relief:

  • Hearing aids – These may benefit some people with tinnitus who have hearing loss. Using a hearing aid may make some sounds louder.
  • Cochlear implants – This option is for those who have tinnitus along with severe hearing loss.
  • Maskers – These provide help for some people by making tinnitus less noticeable. This small electronic device creates sound that may make the ringing or roaring seem softer.
  • Medications – Some medications may ease tinnitus by addressing a problem related to the condition. Medications may also improve mood or sleep.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy – This therapy uses a combination of counseling and maskers. Otolaryngologists and audiologists can help a person learn how to deal with the tinnitus.
  • Counseling – A person with tinnitus may benefit from meeting with a counselor or support group.
  • Relaxation – This may provide relief for some people as stress may make tinnitus worse.

Hearing Aids

The best hearing aid for you depends upon your particular hearing loss and listening needs, the size and shape of your ear and ear canal, and the dexterity of your hands.


ENT (Otolaryngology) and Audiology

Main Line Health otolaryngology and audiology experts treat and manage conditions affecting your ears, nose and throat at locations in the Philadelphia area.