Annoying sound with no external source disables millions.

According to the American Tinnitus Association, tinnitus impacts up to 50 million people in the United States. Approximately 25 percent of the population of industrialized countries have experienced tinnitus at least once, and 10 to 20 percent suffer from it chronically. Tinnitus is the number one disability reported by veterans. It affects at least one in every 10 American adults.

Woman Covering Ears

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus comes from the Latin word tinnire (to ring). Doctors define tinnitus as the perception of sounds for which there is no external source. Many people describe tinnitus as a ringing noise, while to others it sounds like humming, buzzing, hissing, or whistling. Regardless of description, tinnitus is a symptom of an impairment of the auditory processing system.

What causes ringing in the ears?

The exact mechanism that causes buzzing or ringing in ears for some people has yet to be discovered. The best known contributing factor is noise exposure, especially to sounds reaching 85 decibels (dB) or higher. A single gunshot crack can leave some people with permanent tinnitus, as can repeated exposure to loud rock music over time. Taking certain medications known to cause damage to the delicate hair cells of the inner ear may also be a factor.

Some hearing aids provide tinnitus therapy.

While there is currently no cure for tinnitus, there are effective methods of achieving comfort and relief. Some of our hearing aids — Ace™Pure®Carat™, Aquaris™, Nitro®Insio™ , Orion™ , and Siemens Life™ — come with a tinnitus therapy feature that can function as an independent sound generator or in a mixed mode using both the hearing aid microphones and the sound generator. Your hearing care professional can help you determine the type of therapy feature that is right for you.