What does it mean when your ears ring?

Are you ever minding your own business when suddenly you're annoyed with a persistent ringing in your ear? Eventually it dissipates, but what causes this strange occurrence to pop up in our auditory system? Some people think that when your ears ring, it means someone is talking about you, while others think it means change is going to happen soon (via Ryan Hart). 

However, like most things with our body, if something is bothering you or behaving differently, there may be an actual physical reason it's happening, and it's best to have it checked out and looked into more closely. 

Ringing of the ear, better known as tinnitus by the medical community, begins in the inner ear and could involve damage to the sensitive hair cells located within. Tinnitus may sound like waves from an ocean, ringing, buzzing, or hissing. Sometimes it can be in one ear or sometimes it can be in both, and there are a variety of potential causes (via Rush).

For some people, tinnitus is so stressful and frustrating that it corresponds with depression, anxiety, and stress (via Healthline). Affecting almost 50 million adults in the United States, tinnitus is actually very common (via WebMD). 

Persistent ear ringing needs to be evaluated

Director of Rush Oak Park Otolaryngology, Ashok Jagasia, M.D., Ph.D., said, "It's not life threatening, and it is more of a symptom of other problems rather than a disease itself, but it can be debilitating." The causes of tinnitus include exposure to loud noises, a head injury, wax build-up, caffeine, medications, or Meniere's disease. 

Though there isn't really a cure for tinnitus, there could be some ways to help clear up the excess noise in your ears. Cognitive behavioral therapy, getting your ears professionally cleaned, and being evaluated for hearing aids are some ways in which you can help tinnitus that seems to linger on and doesn't get any better over time. Healthline notes that it's vital to protect your ears from loud noises so it doesn't get any worse, and make sure you keep your volume on your devices at a lower level.