Ringing in the ears: When to worry Ringing in the ears: When to worry

Tinnitus is the name given to a ringing sound heard in the ears, but it can also sound like a bellow, wheeze, hum, whistle or squeak.

As Colombia’s National Health Institute explains, tinnitus is a common condition that most people experience on occasion. While it generally lasts a few minutes, if it is constant or recurrent, it can cause stress and difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

This condition is more common in adults between ages 65 and 74, and it generally occurs in the evening when the person is going to sleep, as there is more silence.

Avoiding caffeine, alcohol and tobacco are measures that can help reduce congestion and can help make the noise less notable. Having good sleep hygiene is also helpful. Also, avoiding places with loud sounds and using earplugs can also be helpful.

Sometimes, tinnitus is a sign of high blood pressure, an allergy or anemia; in rare cases, it is a sign of a serious problem such as a tumor or an aneurysm.

If ringing in your ears begins after a head injury; if it comes with other symptoms such as dizziness, loss of balance, nausea or vomiting; or the discomfort only occurs in one ear and continues for several weeks, you should see a specialist immediately.

Related article: Protect your hearing from headphones (article in Spanish)