I’ve heard people talking about tinnitus a lot on this forum, and I’ve never seen it defined in detail. I have experienced two very different kinds of tinnitus, and I’m wondering what others experience, and if there are other kinds than what I’ve experienced, and what treatments/adaptations have been effective for which kinds.
So my answer to this question is that I have two kinds of tinnitus, and maybe three.
High pitched “pink” noise (white noise with a peak at high frequencies) in both ears all the time. Constantly. If I think about it, it’s deafening. It’s like the ringing in one’s ears after a concert. It’s louder than the cars outside my window, louder than the room fan right now, louder than freeway noise in the car with the windows rolled up. It’s usually about twice as loud as normal conversation. It gets worse after loud events, like movies or listening to loud music. It’s loud, interferes with speech intelligibility, but unless I think about it, my brain filters it out of my conscious experience.
Occasional pure tones, accompanied by pretty complete loss of hearing, in a single ear. They usually last from 2 to 10 seconds, fade out, and baseline hearing returns.
About 10 years ago, one case of pure tone tinnitus (as described above) lasted for 3 days. I was really scared, because it was totally distracting. But it started fading out at the end of the second day, and by the end of the 3rd it was gone.