Tinnitus can occur for a variety of reasons but the symptoms are almost always the same person to person. These all are related to hearing a noise, a “phantom sound” that doesn’t have an external source. While tinnitus can be caused by many factors, the individual cases will each be handled differently. A hearing care provider is specially trained to test and work with patients on how to treat the underlying causes of tinnitus or to at least make it more tolerable for day-to-day life. So, what are some of the most common signs of tinnitus? Continue reading on to learn more about the signs and whether you should seek medical care for a hearing specialist.

Phantom Sounds

Unexplained sounds are the most common symptom of tinnitus but this auditory hallucination is also known as the prominent symptom that determines tinnitus. The distinction to this auditory hallucination is often characterized as a ringing, humming, hissing, buzzing, or some other similar sound. This sound will either be constantly present or will be fairly intermittent. You can receive information from your hearing health professional about what type of noise is and they can help figure out the underlying cause and the right treatment.

This unexplained noise is often the cause for many patients to have depression or insomnia as the sound is constantly there and won’t go away. These noises may sound as if it’s being heard right directly into the ear or even within your mind. While many can go on learning to ignore the sound, it’s unfortunately not the case for many patients.


Sleeplessness can be a symptom of tinnitus. If the environment the patient is in is very quiet, the ringing or any other sound that is being produced will be far more noticeable. Many patients can go on with their day not noticing the effects of the auditory hallucination to only noticing it once they’ve settled down in a quiet area. Sleepless nights are not only detrimental to one’s health, but they can cause many ongoing problems such as depression, frustration, and anxiety. There are treatments such as noise therapy that can help block out the tinnitus so you can sleep peacefully without any disturbances.

Pressure in the Ears

A clear indicator that tinnitus is being caused by earwax buildup would be the pressure that’s felt in the ear canal. The increased pressure on the eardrum will cause ringing in the ears, loss of hearing, pressure, and possibly other symptoms such as vertigo. This could be present in one ear or both ears. A hearing care provider can fortunately easily have earwax removed quickly and safely which will then help with stopping the pressure and the ringing sound from tinnitus.

Patients must regularly see a hearing health professional as tinnitus can become permanent if it goes untreated for too long. Hearing health is very important, and while our hearing does begin declining after the age of 50 and tinnitus does become more common, slowing down the process is crucial for long healthy hearing.