Science & Tech

Here's how to stop phantom ringing noises, according to science

Why experts say you shouldn't clean ears with cotton swabs

A neurotologist has revealed how to ease symptoms of those pesky ringing sounds in your ear.

The unpredictable sounds come and go – in one or both ears. They can vary from buzzing, blowing, hissing, ringing, roaring, rumbling or a combination of all.

This could be a sign of tinnitus, a common condition affecting over 50 million Americans in which people hear "phantom sounds".

According to Science Alert, there has been a long-standing debate about whether the sound is generated from the ear or the brain. And while there's no certainty behind the theories, there's one thing everyone can agree on: There's currently no cure.

Despite this, hearing specialists have offered a handful of strategies to cope with the symptoms.

They highlighted the triggers of the condition, including firearms, power tools, heavy machinery, MRI scans and music at gigs. Doctors call such culprits "acoustic trauma," the loud noise that can set tinnitus off.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter


First and foremost, the neurotologist recommends having an ear test to rule out any other causes, such as wax build-up or infection. If not, a further comprehensive hearing test is advised.

As for at-home relief, the expert suggests that background noise can drown out phantom sounds.

YouTube is inundated with tinnitus-relieving audio, and they're mostly free. There are also apps dedicated to the cause, such as the 'Rain Rain app'.

The outlet also suggested that some people find air conditioners, fans, sound machines, television and radio effective methods to mask the sounds.

There are also electronic hearing aid devices to block out the unpredictable ear ringing, fittingly called a tinnitus masker.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)