The sounds of tinnitus vary. They may appear as sounds of whistling, whooshing, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is heard only by the person who experience tinnitus. Objective tinnitus may be heard both by the person who experiences tinnitus, as well as people in close vicinity.
Subjective tinnitus is the most common form, comprising 99% of reported cases. Subjective tinnitus is closely linked to auditory issues, such as sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing specialists believe that damage to inner ear hair cells, which translate sound waves into neural impulses to be registered by the brain, may cause tinnitus. This may happen due to aging, exposure to loud noise, and even certain classes of ototoxic (ear poisoning) medication.
Objective tinnitus, on the other hand, is quite rare, comprising less than 1% of cases. Objective tinnitus may be traced to issues with the circulatory or somatic systems in the body. Conditions which affect blood flow (such as high blood pressure) or musculo-skeletal movement may lead to objective tinnitus.