Ringing in the ear is caused by tinnitus, not the ill-mannered comments of others. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), tinnitus is not a disease, but rather a symptom of an abnormality within the auditory system.
The auditory system includes the ear, the auditory nerve and the brain. Tinnitus is characterized by sounds that are similar to ringing, roaring, clicking, buzzing or hissing. The pitch can be either high or low. Health conditions which can lead to tinnitus include ear or sinus infections, noise-induced hearing loss, circulatory system disease, brain tumors and thyroid abnormalities. Hormonal changes in women can also cause tinnitus.