What It Really Means When It Feels Like Your Head Is Buzzing

The soft buzz of a bumble beeĀ in the summertime can be peaceful, but a buzzing sensation inside your head is anything but. We're all busy, so the last thing we need is an interruption in our concentration when we're running errands, sitting in class, or in the midst of a long workday. If you've ever felt like your head is buzzing, it begs the question, what does it mean?

Head noise, or tinnitus, is a condition in which certain sounds are experienced exclusively by the individual hearing the noise (via Sound Advice Hearing Aid Centers). These internal sounds often consist of buzzing but can also be experienced as whooshing, clicking, or ringing.

According to Sound Advice Hearing Aid Centers, cases of tinnitus can be classified into three categories. The most common is subjective tinnitus, which accounts for more than 95% of cases. With subjective tinnitus, no actual external sound is being absorbed, but rather, the sound being perceived is the result of a processing error in the brain. Objective tinnitus is rarer. In these instances, others may be able to hear the internal noises being experienced by the other person, such as noise from their blood flow. Last is pulsatile tinnitus, in which individuals experience head noise in alignment with their pulse. Those who are pregnant and those with high blood pressure may be more susceptible to this particular form of tinnitus.

How to decrease your risk of tinnitus

Affecting up to 20% of individuals, tinnitus can be a result of an injury, circulatory problem, certain medications, earwax blockage, or progressive hearing loss due to aging (via Mayo Clinic). The experience is different for everyone; it may be chronic for some but sporadic for others, and buzzing may be experienced in different ears or at different volumes. Certain factors can increase one's likelihood of developing the condition such as age, noisy environments, or smoking.

In the event that your head noise is accompanied by additional symptoms such as hearing loss or dizziness, see your doctor right away. If buzzing is accompanied by an upper respiratory infection, and if symptoms last longer than a week, experts at the Mayo Clinic advise scheduling a visit with your physician. For those looking to take preventative measures, wearing protective gear in loud environments can help prevent damage to the ear. Additionally, keep music at a moderate volume, as blasting music directly into the ear through headphones can cause tinnitus. Maintaining good cardiovascular health can reduce one's risk for circulatory problems, some of which can lead to tinnitus. Therefore, exercise, a well-rounded diet, and limiting alcohol consumption can all help maintain healthy blood flow.