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Tinnitus refers to a ringing noise in the ears. This noise has been likened to the "sound of a cricket", a buzzing, clicking or a roaring noise.

Tinnitus is a common problem and affects about 20% of the population at some point. It can occur at any time of the day. However, it tends to be most noticeable when the background is quiet.

In serious cases, it may be so loud that it interferes with actual hearing. Thankfully, most cases are mild and patients won’t even notice this ringing noise once occupied with activity.

  1. Age related hearing loss
  2. Exposure to loud noise
  3. Earwax
  4. Nasal allergies or sinus infections
  5. Injury to the eardrum
  6. Tumours of the nerves and brain
  7. Blood vessel disorders
  8. Medication induced

Tinnitus may also worsen if you have:

  1. Stress
  2. Fatigue
  3. Insufficient sleep or inability to fall asleep
  4. Depression
  5. Anxiety

See an ENT specialist if the intensity of your tinnitus is bothering you and interfering with your daily life, or if it is accompanied by hearing loss and giddiness.

The doctor will examine your ears, recommend a hearing test or even suggest an MRI/CT scan of your inner ear and brain, depending on the suspected cause of your tinnitus.


Some causes of tinnitus can be treated easily while others are not.

Conditions that can be treated easily:

  1. Earwax removal
  2. Treating ear infection
  3. Treating a blocked nose or sinus infection
  4. Changing your medication

If tinnitus is mild or occurs in quiet places:

  1. Have some background noise to mask your tinnitus
  2. Keep yourself occupied with some activities to distract from the noise
  3. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes
  4. Manage your stress

However, if the noise still bothers you a lot, you may look into:

  1. Hearing aids
  2. Tinnitus Maskers
  3. Tinnitus retraining
  4. Neuromonics Device
Know Your ENT Specialist
Dr Paul Mok
Senior Consultant ENT Surgeon
MBBS, FRCS (Glasgow), FAMS (ORL)

Dr Paul Mok Kan Hwei is a certified specialist in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (ENT) and has had a distinguished career in public service for the past 23 years.

He cares for patients with a wide variety of ENT conditions including managing patients with nasal allergies, sinus infections, ear problems and swellings in the head and neck region. His special areas of interests are in Voice, Swallowing and managing patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Dr Lau Hung Tuan
Consultant ENT Surgeon
MBBS (London), MRCS (Edinburgh), MMed (ORL), FAMS (ORL)

Dr Lau Hung Tuan is a Ministry of Health-accredited ENT specialist in Singapore. He is passionate about finding holistic, tailored and individualised care plans for his patients.

He treats patients with a wide range of ENT conditions, such as sinus infection, nasal allergy, ear problems and neck lumps. His special area of interest is in the sub-specialty field of Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).