Based on the symptoms, there are similarities between auditory hallucinations and tinnitus. However the origins of such conditions as well as the causes on how these conditions happen deeply differ from each other. According to a medical study in Korea (Kangwon National University- College of Medicine), understanding the difference between these conditions can be helpful in identifying how sounds and perception of sounds or non-sounds could be linked to psychotic conditions or non-psychotic ones.
Tinnitus is a condition that could be independent of existing health conditions or marked by health problems. The person normally hears abstract sounds from ringing, hissing, humming or beeping sound. The most common one is the ringing sound. The condition is hard to diagnose and could be caused by a variety of issues such as vascular disorders, ear infection or other conditions that could affect the inner structure of the ear. Tinnitus can be corrected by means of masking the sounds, allowing the person to not hear the ringing sounds and let them live a much comfortable life.
Auditory hallucinations are normally occurring in conjunction with existing psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia or mania. This is a form of hallucination where a person perceives sounds without any form of stimuli. The sounds normally are audible ‘‘voices’’. That voice could be hearing one speak one’s thoughts, hear a conversation of 2 individuals or the person might be hearing someone narrate their actions. Though it is common to people with mental illnesses, there are also non disease causes and could be due to extreme stress, drug addiction, too much consumption of caffeine and others. Research is ongoing regarding non psychotic conditions that happen on children below age of puberty.
Understanding auditory hallucinations and tinnitus as unique conditions is a part of an ongoing search for the truths behind the unique nature of perception, its physical causes, and psychological factors and how to address or mitigate their intensity. There is limited research regarding their correlations and how necessary it is to identify one from the other for people with mental conditions but the future is bright to understanding the realities regarding these conditions.