Wikipedia describes it as:
Tinnitus is not itself a disease but a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes, including ear infections, foreign objects or wax in the ear, and injury from loud noises. Tinnitus is also a side-effect of some oral medications, such as aspirin, and may also result from an abnormally low level of serotonin activity.
I have no clue how I got it, but I have had it as long as I can remember. Predating my having any sort of Walkman, iPod or the such, so I doubt it was loud music that did it to me, and I was never a big aspirin user, so I really have no clue how it happened. But the fun is never ending with a constant ringing in my ears. Most of the time I can ignore it, and it doesn’t hurt my ability to hear at all, as I can hear conversations with no problem from even across a room.
True, you learn to live with it, and the majority of the time I can ignore it, unless I am in a really quiet situation, and then it sounds like an alarm clock going off. A while back I adopted going to sleep with my iPod playing in my ears (at the absolute lowest volume setting) as it drowns out the tinnitus.
Yes, I probably should get it looked at, but since mine is “subjective”, there is no way to test the severity, and I have had my hearing tested numerous times, and my ears examined regularly, with nothing detected, so I just trudge on and ignore it. The only time it bothers me is when it’s a lovely, quiet night, and you would like to just sit outside and enjoy it… I hear a ringing.
Oh well, William Shatner has it far worse than I do from what I’ve heard, so at least I’m in good (?) company.