What Tinnitus Sounds Like

ginger hair girl rubbing temples

Tinnitus can have a number of different sounds, and can affect individuals in many different ways. These sounds can change over time and can vary in volume. They can be a constant or an intermittent sound.


Most commonly tinnitus is referred to as ‘ringing in the ears’, however other sounds can be heard. You may hear one of these or several. These sounds include buzzing, humming, hissing, whistling, grinding, roaring, crickets, screeching, sirens, whooshing, static, waves, clicking, and dial tones. The sounds can vary, and the sound may seem to come from one ear or both. It could seem to come from inside the head, or from a distance.

There are a number of ways to describe tinnitus sounds

Tonal Tinnitus

This is the perception of near-continuous sound with well-defined frequencies. The volume of the tinnitus can often change. This type of tinnitus can be associated with subjective tinnitus, which can only be heard by you.

Pulsatile Tinnitus

This tinnitus can be described as a beat that is in time with your own heartbeat. This can be linked with objective tinnitus, which can not only be heard by you, but can be detected by other people, such as your audiologist or GP. 

Musical Tinnitus

This type of tinnitus can seem like a familiar tune or song, and is often the same tune on a constant loop. This can also be referred to as ‘Musical Ear Syndrome’ or ‘Musical Hallucination’, and is very rare.