This article is from the Tinnitus FAQ, by email@example.com (Mark Bixby) with numerous contributions by others.
Many sufferers in the online community report that their tinnitus sounds
like the high-pitched background squeal emitted by some computer monitors
or television sets. Others report noises like hissing steam, rushing water,
chirping crickets, bells, breaking glass, or even chainsaws. Some report
that their tinnitus temporarily spikes in volume with sudden head motions
during aerobic exercise, or with each footfall while jogging.
Objective tinnitus sufferers may hear a rhythmic rushing noise caused by
their own pulse. This form is known as pulsatile tinnitus.
In a database of 1544 tinnitus patients, 79% characterized the sound as
"tonal" with an average loudness of 7.5 (on a subjective scale of 1-10).
The other 21% characterized the sound as "noise" with an average loudness
of 5.5. When compared to an externally generated noise source, the average
loudness was 7.5dB above threshold. 68% of patients were able to have their
tinnitus masked by sounds 14dB or less above threshold. The internal
origination of the tinnitus sounds was perceived by 56% of the patients to
be in both ears, 24% from somewhere inside the head, 11% from the left ear,
and 9% from the right ear.