Ringing in the ears develops in children and adults, but it’s more common as you get older, affecting 15-20% of adults. At Lexington ENT & Allergy on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Alexa Lessow, MD, offers comprehensive care for ringing in the ears, from diagnosing the underlying cause to developing individualized treatment. If you suffer from ringing in your ears, call the office in New York City or schedule an appointment using the online booking feature.

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What does it mean to have ringing in my ears?

Ringing in your ears, or tinnitus, is a sign that you have a problem in your auditory system, which includes your ear, the auditory nerve, and the areas of your brain that process sound. 

Though it’s referred to as ringing in your ears, you may hear a variety of sounds, including:

  • Rushing
  • Roaring
  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Whistling
  • Hissing

The sound’s characteristics vary in each person and may change over time. The sound you hear could be soft or loud, constant or variable, and occur in one or both ears. 

What causes ringing in the ears?

Ringing in the ears may develop from a variety of problems, such as:

  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Buildup of earwax
  • Exposure to loud sounds
  • Auditory nerve problems
  • Certain medications
  • Eustachian tube damage
  • Pressure on your eardrum
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders

In rare cases, ringing in the ears occurs due to a blood vessel disorder such as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. 

How is ringing in my ears treated? 

Dr. Lessow reviews your medical history and symptoms, examines your ear, and may perform diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause. You may need a hearing exam, movement test, or imaging tests such as an in-office CT scan to evaluate the structures in your ear.

Your treatment begins by dealing with underlying problems, such as removing excess ear wax. When you don’t have an underlying condition, your treatment may include options such as: 

Noise suppression

White noise often suppresses the sound you hear in your ears. Your treatment may include a white noise machine or a masking device that you wear in your ear. 

Acoustic neural stimulation

If the ringing in your ears is loud, Dr. Lessow may recommend using headphones that deliver an acoustic signal embedded in music. The signal stimulates changes in the neural circuits in your brain, gradually desensitizing you to the noise in your ears. 

Hearing aid

If you have hearing loss in addition to ringing in your ears, Dr. Lessow may recommend a hearing aid designed to treat both problems. 


Dr. Lessow may prescribe a medication that reduces your symptoms.

If you develop ringing in your ears, schedule an evaluation at Lexington ENT & Allergy by calling or booking an appointment online.