What’s causing the ringing sound in my ear?

While only your doctor can provide a diagnosis, what you are describing could be tinnitus, a condition where people hear a noise inside their head that’s not coming from an outside source. People often describe it as a chirping, clicking, ringing, or buzzing. For some people, the sound is constant; for others, it comes and goes.

It’s common for tinnitus to occur after exposure to a loud noise or blaring music. In other cases, it’s not clear what triggered the tinnitus, but it occurs more frequently in people over age 55 and among those with hearing loss. Tinnitus can be a side effect of certain medications, and sometimes earwax blockage is the culprit. It can be short-lived, such as after attending a loud rock concert. But many people have persistent tinnitus, most often when they also have hearing loss.

Tinnitus can be incredibly annoying and cause significant distress. If this is the case, see your doctor. She or he may suggest strategies to help you cope with tinnitus, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, stress management, tinnitus retraining therapy, or biofeedback. Or you may want to try a device designed to help mask the noise from tinnitus. While there’s no cure, these strategies may help to make the condition less bothersome over time.

— Toni Golen, M.D., and Hope Ricciotti, M.D.
Editors in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24

 “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” – Proverbs 12:25

 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” – Luke 12:25

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:11

 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

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