Tinnitus is the name for ringing in the ears or hearing sounds in your head. It may be continuous or it may come and go. It is only heard by the sufferer and not by those around them. Usually it takes the form of a swishing or whining sound, but may vary in pitch and intensity, and in one or both ears. Whatever form the sounds take, they are distressing and may affect your ability to hear other sounds and otherwise live a normal life.