[ti-nahy-tuhs, tin-i-]
noun Pathology.
a ringing or similar sensation of sound in the ears.

1685–95; < Latin tinnītus a tinkling, equivalent to tinnī(re) to tinkle + -tus suffix of v. action

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World English Dictionary
tinnitus (ˈtɪnɪtəs, tɪˈnaɪtəs)
pathol a ringing, hissing, or booming sensation in one or both ears, caused by infection of the middle or inner ear, a side effect of certain drugs, etc
[C19: from Latin, from tinnīre to ring]

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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

tinnitus tin·ni·tus (tĭ-nī'təs, tĭn'ĭ-)
n. pl. tin·ni·tus·es
A sound in one ear or both ears, such as buzzing, ringing, or whistling, occurring without an external stimulus and usually caused by a specific condition, such as an ear infection, the use of certain drugs, a blocked auditory tube or canal, or a head injury.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
tinnitus   (tĭn'ĭ-təs, tĭ-nī'-)  Pronunciation Key 
A buzzing, ringing, or whistling sound in one or both ears occurring without an external stimulus. Its causes include ear infection or blockage, certain drugs, head injury, and neurologic disease.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


ringing or buzzing in the ears. Tinnitus may be caused by any of a number of ear conditions, including the clogging of the external auditory canal with earwax (cerumen) or inflammation of the eardrum membrane, the middle ear, or the inner ear. Tinnitus may also result from an overdose of drugs such as aspirin or from excessive use of the telephone, and it may accompany hearing loss, particularly in the high-frequency range. Ringing in the ears also sometimes accompanies vertigo (dizziness).

Learn more about tinnitus with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Distraction appears to be an effective technique to avoid the phantom noise of tinnitus.
The damage is often accompanied by a nonstop buzzing called tinnitus.
My recently acquired tinnitus is more bearable, as my fitness routine distracts my attention from the tinnitus.
Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears, is also commonly reported.
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