Ringing, Buzzing, Hissing Sounds: Do You Need Hearing Aids?

Written by the Nano Hearing Aids Team
Reviewed for Accuracy by Lindsay Roberts, AuD.

Lindsay Roberts
Ringing, Buzzing, Hissing Sounds: Do You Need Hearing Aids?

If you're frequently hearing ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds, you might be experiencing a common auditory condition known as tinnitus. These sounds can be extremely distracting and unsettling, making it difficult to perform daily tasks. 

Treatment for tinnitus varies depending on the cause. In this article, we’ll share important information on what to do if you suspect you have tinnitus, potential complications if left untreated, and how OTC hearing aids could potentially help. 

What Causes Ringing, Buzzing, and Hissing Sounds (Tinnitus)?

Tinnitus isn't a disease itself but a symptom of underlying issues. It can affect one or both ears. There are several potential causes of why you might be experiencing these symptoms:

Exposure to Loud Noise

 Attending concerts, working in noisy environments, or even frequent use of earphones at high volumes can lead to temporary or permanent tinnitus.

Age-Related Hearing Loss

As we age, hearing typically declines, and for many, tinnitus comes along with this deterioration.

Ear Obstructions

Wax buildup, foreign objects in the ear, or significant infections can all trigger tinnitus.


Certain medications are known to induce tinnitus as a side effect. These medications can include some antibiotics, cancer medications, and even high doses of aspirin.

Health Conditions

Issues like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and thyroid problems can also manifest symptoms of tinnitus.

Meeting with a hearing healthcare professional can help determine the cause of the ringing, buzzing, and hissing sounds and which type of treatment is needed. 

Complications of Tinnitus

Complications of Tinnitus

Tinnitus can be a complex condition intertwined with several potential complications that can affect your overall health and well-being, including:

Progression of Hearing Loss

Tinnitus often occurs alongside hearing loss, typically caused by damage to the inner ear due to exposure to loud noise or as a consequence of an inner ear disorder. Over time, if you have tinnitus you might find your ability to hear external sounds diminishes, which can further worsen tinnitus. Utilizing a hearing aid might not only improve hearing but also help mask the tinnitus by amplifying external noises, making the internal ringing less noticeable.

Increased Risk of Ear Infections

 Individuals with tinnitus might be more susceptible to ear infections, especially if their tinnitus is linked to an existing condition affecting the middle ear or Eustachian tube dysfunction. These infections can temporarily worsen tinnitus symptoms, creating a cycle of discomfort and irritation.

Sleep Disturbances

The persistent noise of tinnitus can make falling asleep or staying asleep challenging, leading to significant sleep disturbances. Over time, lack of sleep can contribute to a range of health issues, including high blood pressure, which in itself can worsen tinnitus or even lead to the development of pulsatile tinnitus - a type of tinnitus where the ringing or noise is synchronized with your heartbeat.

Cognitive and Emotional Impact

Living with chronic tinnitus can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression, particularly if the symptoms are intrusive. The constant ringing or buzzing can distract you from daily activities and can significantly impact mental health.

Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Issues

There is some evidence to suggest a link between tinnitus and certain cardiovascular problems. For example, high blood pressure can potentially exacerbate the severity of tinnitus symptoms. Some individuals might develop tinnitus as an early warning system of an underlying cardiovascular condition, especially in cases related to pulsatile tinnitus, which could indicate abnormal blood flow near the ears.

It’s crucial to address both the symptoms of tinnitus and the root causes. Whether it's by using a hearing aid to help manage the auditory challenges or addressing lifestyle factors to control high blood pressure, effective management of tinnitus requires a comprehensive approach. 

If you’re experiencing persistent tinnitus, consider consulting with a hearing healthcare professional to explore the best strategies for your specific situation and to prevent further complications. 

Additional Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Additional Symptoms of Hearing Loss

A ringing noise, buzzing sound, or hissing sound are just a few examples of symptoms that can be associated with hearing loss. There are many symptoms that can occur, including (but not limited to):

  • Trouble hearing conversations in noisy places and with a lot of background noise or loud sounds
  • Feeling tired from listening
  • Finding it difficult to follow conversations and hear people in group settings
  • Difficulty hearing someone on the phone
  • Needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio, even if others say that it’s loud
  • Difficulty hearing conversations
  • Unable to hear sounds or finding it very difficult to hear sounds, including loud noises (even in quiet environments)
  • You might find yourself reading lips as a result of your hearing loss

Could I Benefit From OTC Hearing Aids?

If you have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, OTC hearing aids might help. OTC hearing aids are available to anyone 18 years or older with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. They don’t require a visit to the doctor, a hearing test, or a prescription. 

Mild to moderate hearing loss includes having trouble hearing conversations in places with background noise, feeling tired from listening, finding it difficult to follow conversations in group settings, having trouble hearing on the phone, and needing to turn up the volume on the TV/radio. 

However, if your symptoms of hearing loss are severe, you should consult with a hearing healthcare specialist to determine the cause. You might need prescription hearing aids or another form of treatment. Severe hearing loss includes symptoms such as difficulty hearing conversations, having trouble hearing sounds and loud noises even in quiet environments, or reading lips.

For those experiencing a ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound, it’s recommended you meet with a hearing healthcare professional who can determine the cause of these symptoms - this will determine whether OTC hearing aids are the right choice for your needs. 

OTC Hearing Aids For Perceived Mild To Moderate Hearing Loss

Many people with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss have found it beneficial to wear hearing aids that are OTC, as they can be a great solution for improving hearing. These FDA-regulated devices don't need a prescription, hearing exam, or doctor's appointment. You can try them in the comfort of your home, and you can adjust the volume to suit your specific needs. With Nano OTC hearing aids, you simply pick the best dome size for your ears, turn them on, and put them in. Keep in mind it might take several days or weeks for your ears and brain to get used to them, which is why Nano OTC Hearing Aids comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee and free 24/7 lifetime support.

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