What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a common condition where individuals experience ringing, buzzing, whooshing or other noises in their ears without an external sound source. Tinnitus can be a temporary or chronic condition and can affect people of all ages. Tinnitus can come on very suddenly, or it may develop over time. The most common age for Tinnitus onset is 60-69 years old and it affects roughly 200,000 New Zealanders.

How to recognise the first signs of Tinnitus

If you’ve been experiencing hearing loss or ringing in your ears, you may be suffering from Tinnitus. It’s common in people that spend their professional career around excess noise, like firefighters, pilots or farmers. Or, it can be common amongst people that have noisy lifestyles, like festival goers and musicians.

There are two main kinds of tinnitus:

An audiologist can assess the kind of Tinnitus you may have and let you know if it’s permanent or if there are measures that you can take to ensure it doesn’t become permanent.

Subjective Tinnitus
The most common and is caused by damage in your outer, middle, or inner ear. Typically, subjective Tinnitus is caused by exposure to loud noise over a period of time.

Objective Tinnitus
It can actually be heard by your audiologist. It is less common than subjective Tinnitus and can be caused by damage to your middle ear bone, a blood vessel problem, or muscle contractions.

The symptoms of Tinnitus

Here are some common signs and symptoms of Tinnitus that you should look out for (and listen for!):

  1. A constant or intermittent ringing or buzzing sound in both ears
  2. A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear(s) – this could be misleading; often, tinnitus associated with aural fullness is nothing to be alarmed about
  3. Difficulty hearing or understanding speech in noisy environments due to Tinnitus
  4. Sensitivity to loud noises – not tinnitus but hyperacusis, which is associated with Tinnitus
  5. Fatigue or stress caused by the constant sound in your ears
  6. Disrupted sleep
If you’re experiencing any or all of the symptoms above, it’s time to make an appointment with your Triton Hearing audiologist.

Book your free appointment by calling 0800 45 45 43 or 

book a tinnitus appointment
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. You should not use the information as a substitute for, nor should it replace, professional medical advice. If you have any questions about your hearing health, you should always consult with an audiologist.


  1.  Jamil Al-Swiahb, Shi Nae Park. Characterization of tinnitus in different age groups: A retrospective review. Noise Health. 2016 Jul-Aug; 18(83): 214–219.