Subjective vs. Objective Tinnitus: What’s the Difference?

The capacity to hear has a significant impact on how we go about our daily lives. When someone has hearing problems, it’s critical to determine what’s causing the issue. A common hearing problem is a ringing in the ears that no one else can hear. Tinnitus is an issue that affects millions of people worldwide. So, what is tinnitus, exactly?

What Is Tinnitus?

While a person feels a sound, such as a ringing noise, this scenario arises when there is no external noise. People with tinnitus can hear ringing, buzzing, hissing, whooshing, and even clicking. This is one of the most frequent ailments, and while it can be temporary, it affects many people on a long-term basis. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Head trauma

Auditory trauma

Recurring ear infections

Hearing loss


Dental problems



Tinnitus is a complicated and variable ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling, or hissing sound. It is most noticeable in quiet environments with no distracting stimuli; therefore, it can become very noticeable at night.

The ringing in the ears can be intermittent or constant. Continuous tinnitus is inconvenient at best and devastating at worst. Some patients adjust to it better than others, and as a result, depression may develop. Stress is known to aggravate tinnitus as well.

A variety of things can cause tinnitus, but it can be divided into subjective and objective. The subjective type is more common, accounting for almost 99 percent of all occurrences of tinnitus.


The Difference Between Subjective And Objective Tinnitus:

Subjective tinnitus is thought to be caused by abnormal neuronal activity in the auditory cortex. This activity occurs when the auditory pathway (cochlea, auditory nerve, brain stem nuclei, auditory cortex) is disrupted or altered somehow. Some believe the phenomenon is similar to phantom limb pain after amputation. Conductive hearing loss (e.g., caused by cerumen impaction, otitis media, or eustachian tube dysfunction) might be connected to subjective tinnitus by altering sound input to the central auditory system.

In objective tinnitus, actual noise is produced by physiologic processes in the middle ear. Blood vessels are usually the source of noise, whether normal vessels in situations of increased or turbulent flow (e.g., caused by atherosclerosis) or aberrant vessels (e.g., in tumors or vascular malformations). Muscle spasms or myoclonus of the palatal muscles or muscles in the middle ear can create clicking sounds (stapedius, tensor tympani).

The major distinction between subjective and objective categories is how noises are perceived. The patient can only hear subjective noises because the cause is internal, whereas objective noises can be heard if the source is external.

If you believe you are suffering from this problem, you should visit a hearing clinic. A doctor can diagnose your problem and walk you through figuring out what’s wrong and discussing treatment options.