Help and frequently asked questions

What is tinnitus?


Tinnitus is a sound or sounds that you can hear in either your ears or head that other people cannot hear. It is usually described as a sound such as ringing, whistling, hissing or a roaring.

The medical word comes from the Latin word 'tinnire', which means 'to ring'.

You might only notice these sounds when it is very quiet, such as at night. Or they might be so loud that they intrude on your everyday life. Either way, tinnitus can be distressing and worrying, but you are not alone.

If your tinnitus is due to short-term noise damage – for example, after going to a loud music concert – it might go away after a few days.

If it has lasted for weeks or months, there is a strong possibility that your tinnitus may be long-term. Over time it’s likely that your brain will get used to it. Accepting that your tinnitus might be long-term can be an important first step in coming to terms with it