Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, is the sensation of hearing something making a ringing sound in the ear when no cause of the sound can be found. Ringing in the ears is a common sign of tinnitus, the medical term for hearing noises or sounds in the ear without a source for those noises. In addition to ringing in the ears, tinnitus symptoms can also include a buzzing, whistling, hissing, humming, or whooshing sound in the ears. Ringing in the ears and tinnitus are quite common, and many people experience it occasionally for just a few minutes at a time. The cause of ringing in the ears is unknown, but can indicate an ear infection, an obstruction in the ear, damage to the ear from exposure to extremely loud noises, or a condition called Meniere's disease.