Tinnitus, a ringing or other noise in the ears not caused by an external source, is a condition which affects a large number of people. The exact number of those affected is not known as many with a minor form of the condition never seek attention.
The Australian Tinnitus Association estimates that approximately 20% of the population suffer from the condition, however, a study by Heller and Bergman (1953) found that of 80 medical students with normal hearing and who considered themselves to be tinnitus-free, some 93% reported hearing a sound in their ears when enclosed in a soundproof chamber.
Tungland (2004) reports that approximately 5% of the adult population in the United Kingdom experience persistent or troublesome tinnitus.
In New Zealand, the University of Auckland Audiology Department reports that although the majority of the population have tinnitus at some stage in their life, for most of us the condition is limited to an occasional quiet background noise which is easily ignored.