Tinnitus is a very unpleasant thing to experience. Most people would describe it as a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear. It could be quiet and hard to hear unless everything is quiet, or it could be incredibly loud and debilitating. With it affecting around 1 in every 5 people in the world, it’s one of the most common problems that affects everyone regardless of age.

Many people incorrectly assume that tinnitus is a condition in itself, but it’s more akin to a symptom than a condition. This is because tinnitus is often caused by an underlying health issue such as hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises, or even stress-related problems. Thankfully, there are many treatments available for tinnitus, but they can vary depending on the severity and the approach you want to take.

Since tinnitus is so common, many people fail to understand when they actually have the condition. In order to give you a better understanding of tinnitus, we’ve put together three of the most common signs of tinnitus.

You hear a ringing, buzzing or humming in your ears

These are the most common words used to describe tinnitus. If you hear a ringing, buzzing, humming or even whining noise in your ear despite there being nothing around you that could cause the noise, then there’s a good chance that you suffer from tinnitus. These sounds can usually come and go or persist for a long time. In severe cases, they can be loud and last the entire day, even when you’re trying to sleep. This is a worrying level of tinnitus and it’s important that you seek professional advice from an audiologist.

You have been diagnosed with hearing loss

Hearing loss is one of the most common causes of tinnitus. It can be minor hearing loss or even severe hearing loss; either way, it’s one of the most common reasons for tinnitus and if you have hearing loss, then there’s a good chance that you may have heard a ringing or buzzing in your ears as well. Luckily, tinnitus caused by hearing loss can usually be masked by whatever hearing aid you choose in the future. Make sure you speak with your audiologist and let them know about your tinnitus so that they can help you pick the right hearing aid to mask it.

You have pain in your ears after a recent injury or trauma

If you have recently hit your head or suffered some kind of damage to your body, then your ears could hurt as a result of the nerves being damaged. This may be accompanied by the common ringing and buzzing noises that most tinnitus sufferers hear. Ear infections can also cause tinnitus due to the way they affect the ear canal. If you have recently suffered some kind of damage, especially to your head or upper body, then speak to your audiologist to help you determine if you have tinnitus.