What are ear sounds?

The sound of buzzing or ringing in your ears in the absence of audible noise can be annoying. The symptom is attributed to a medical condition called tinnitus. Ear sounds may mimic noises, such as buzzing, ringing, clicking, hissing, clanging or wheezing. Ear sounds are a common occurrence that can range in severity from being a nuisance to being a symptom of a medical emergency that should be evaluated immediately.

Ear Problems Spotlight

Ear sounds have no known direct cause, but they can be symptomatic of ear infections, foreign objects in the ear, allergies, high blood pressure, anemia, or a condition known as Meniere’s disease (swelling in part of the inner ear canal, causing dizziness and hearing loss). Alcohol, caffeine, and certain drugs are also contributing factors in some cases of ear sounds.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if the sounds in your ear begin after a head injury, or if they are accompanied by such symptoms as nausea with or without vomiting, and dizziness or vertigo.

Seek prompt medical care if you have sounds in your ear that are persistent, recurrent, or cause you concern.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with ear sounds?

Symptoms of ear sounds, or tinnitus, occur in the ears and may mimic the sounds of ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, clanging or wheezing. The volume may be very low or high and the sounds may occur in one or both ears. You may be barely aware of the ear sounds or they may distract you from your daily routines and interfere with sleep. Ear sounds occur when the brain misinterprets nerve signals as sound.... Read more about ear soundssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes ear sounds?

The ear canal is lined with tiny hairs that sense movement and vibration conveyed to the brain as sound. Ear sounds may occur when these cells in your ear that respond to sound waves malfunction and transmit electrical impulses that your brain misinterprets as sound.... Read more about ear soundscauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat


Popular Ear, Nose and Throat Slide Show