Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound, and other people usually can’t hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15% to 20% of people and is especially common in older adults. For some, it is felt like a buzzing or whistling sound that troubles them at night. Tinnitus is actually very common and affects about one in five people. The disturbance may be continuous or periodic in nature.