Two Types of Tinnitus: Exploring the Causes and Treatment Options

Tinnitus is a condition where a person hears ringing or buzzing in their ears. It can be caused by a variety of factors such as exposure to loud noise, ear infections or even medication. There are two types of tinnitus – subjective and objective. In this article, we will delve into each type, exploring their causes, symptoms and possible treatments.

Understanding the Different Types of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and it is characterized by a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears that can be constant or intermittent. While tinnitus is generally thought of as a single condition, there are actually two main types of tinnitus that individuals can experience. These types are known as objective tinnitus and subjective tinnitus.

Objective Tinnitus

Objective tinnitus is a rare form of tinnitus that can actually be heard by other people. This type of tinnitus is caused by a physical problem in the body, such as a blood vessel issue or muscle spasms in the middle ear. Objective tinnitus is typically treated by addressing the underlying physical issue that is causing the condition.

Subjective Tinnitus

Subjective tinnitus is the more common form of tinnitus and is experienced by the vast majority of individuals who suffer from the condition. It is caused by damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear and can be triggered by a variety of factors, including exposure to loud noises, ear infections, and certain medications. Unlike objective tinnitus, subjective tinnitus cannot be heard by other people and is typically treated by managing the symptoms rather than addressing an underlying physical issue.

Preventing Tinnitus

While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are several ways to prevent the condition from occurring in the first place or from getting worse:

Key Takeaway: Tinnitus is not a single condition, but rather has two main types: objective and subjective. While objective tinnitus can be heard by other people and is typically caused by a physical problem, such as a blood vessel issue, subjective tinnitus is more common and is caused by damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear. While there is no known cure for tinnitus, there are several ways to prevent it and treatment options available, including protecting your ears from loud noises, taking care of your health, and utilizing therapies and sound therapy to manage symptoms.

Protect Your Ears

One of the most effective ways to prevent tinnitus is to protect your ears from loud noises. This can be accomplished by wearing earplugs or earmuffs when you are exposed to loud sounds for an extended period of time, such as when you are attending a concert or working in a noisy environment.

Avoid Loud Music

In addition to protecting your ears from loud noises, it is also important to avoid listening to loud music through headphones or earbuds. This can cause damage to the delicate hair cells in the inner ear and increase the risk of developing tinnitus.

Take Care of Your Health

Taking care of your overall health can also help prevent tinnitus. This includes quitting smoking, reducing your alcohol intake, and managing stress levels.

Manage Underlying Conditions

Certain underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, can increase the risk of developing tinnitus. Managing these conditions through medication or lifestyle changes can help prevent tinnitus from developing.

Treating Tinnitus

While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are several treatment options available that can help manage the symptoms:


Antihistamines, antidepressants, and other medications can be effective in reducing tinnitus symptoms. However, these medications can also have side effects, so it is important to discuss them with your doctor before beginning treatment.


Zinc supplements have been shown to be effective in reducing tinnitus symptoms, particularly in individuals with a zinc deficiency. Other supplements, such as melatonin and ginkgo biloba, may also be effective in reducing tinnitus symptoms.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy and other forms of therapy can be effective in helping individuals cope with the emotional and psychological impact of tinnitus. These therapies can also help individuals develop coping strategies to manage their symptoms.

Sound Therapy

Sound therapy, such as white noise machines or hearing aids, can help mask the ringing or buzzing sound of tinnitus and make it less noticeable.

Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes, such as reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, practicing relaxation techniques, and getting regular exercise, can also help manage tinnitus symptoms.

FAQs – Two Types of Tinnitus

What are the two types of tinnitus?

The two types of tinnitus are subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus is the most common type and is the perception of ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in the ears or head. Objective tinnitus, on the other hand, is a rare form of tinnitus where a sound can be heard by others through auscultation. Objective tinnitus is caused by physical abnormalities within the ear, such as muscle spasms or blood vessel abnormalities.

What are the causes of subjective tinnitus?

Subjective tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors such as exposure to loud noise, certain medications, ear infections, and age-related degeneration of the auditory system. Other factors that can contribute to the development of tinnitus include stress, depression, and anxiety.

How is subjective tinnitus diagnosed?

Subjective tinnitus can be diagnosed through a series of tests, such as a hearing test, to rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms. The doctor may also ask about your medical history and examine your ears to look for signs of inflammation or infection.

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

There is currently no known cure for tinnitus, but there are treatment options available to manage the symptoms. Treatment may include sound therapy, where external sounds are used to mask the internal tinnitus sounds, cognitive and behavioral therapy, and medication. In some cases, surgery may be a viable option to treat the underlying condition causing tinnitus.

Can tinnitus be prevented?

Preventing tinnitus can be achieved by avoiding loud noises, protecting the ears from loud sounds, and managing stress levels. Wearing hearing protection when around loud noises, such as when attending concerts or using power tools, is also recommended. Monitoring your medication use and avoiding medications known to cause tinnitus may also help prevent the development of the condition.