Hearing noises in the head that do not come from an outside source is a condition called tinnitus, states the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. It is typically a symptom of a disease that affects the hearing system.
Tinnitus usually describes a ringing noise in the ears, but it also sometimes sounds like clicking, hissing, roaring, pulsing or whistling, says the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. It is not considered a disease but a symptom of different problems, such as hearing loss, Meniere’s disease, head injury, medicines and exposure to loud noise. An individual who suffers migraine headaches, anemia, stress or hypertension may also experience tinnitus.
Tinnitus can be an irregular or a continuous noise in one or both ears, notes the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. Many people experience primary tinnitus, which is associated with hearing loss and no other cause. Others experience secondary tinnitus, in which the underlying problem can be treated to stop the tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus refers to noise that only the individual hears, whereas objective tinnitus refers to sounds that the examiner also hears.
Bothersome noise that lingers for six months or more is called persistent tinnitus, states the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. People who experience persistent tinnitus can consult an otolaryngologist or audiologist to determine the cause.