When a doctor suspects tinnitus, he or she will complete an examination and diagnose one of two types. The first is objective tinnitus, which means that the doctor can hear it during the exam. This is rare. The primary causes of objective tinnitus include muscle contractions in the ear, a condition with the middle ear bone, or a problem with a blood vessel.
With subjective tinnitus, no one else can hear the sounds except for the person who has the condition. It is far more common than the objective type. Problems with the inner, middle, or outer ear lead to the symptoms associated with subjective tinnitus. Hearing loss caused by issues with the auditory nerves or pathways can also cause this problem.