When To See An Audiologist About Tinnitus

When To See An Audiologist About Tinnitus

By: Sara Young, AuD, CCC-A

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ear where there is no external sound present.  It is a very common condition that often presents itself as a ringing sound; but can also be perceived as buzzing, roaring, whooshing, or sound like your heartbeat.  Tinnitus can be in one or both ears and can be constant or intermittent. Many people experience tinnitus but do not pay any attention to it while others are extremely bothered. 

Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself; it is a symptom of an underlying condition. These conditions include but are not limited to age related hearing loss, loud noise exposure, buildup of earwax, head or neck injuries, and TMJ disorders. In rare cases tinnitus is caused by a blood vessel disorder.

There are medications that can cause or worsen tinnitus; some the medications on the list include some antibiotics, cancer medications, diuretics, aspirin, and some antidepressants.

Tinnitus can be experienced by anyone and is often out of a person’s control, but some things may increase the likelihood. These include exposure to loud noise, smoking, and cardiovascular problems. To help prevent tinnitus use hearing protection, turn down the volume of your music, and take care of your heart!

It is important to find out the underlying condition causing your tinnitus. If you experience the following tinnitus symptoms, you should see an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) and audiologist:

  • When the tinnitus is only in one ear
  • When the sound is affecting your quality of life
  • When the sound starts suddenly or changes in volume or duration
  • When the sound is accompanied with hearing loss or dizziness
  • When it sounds like your heartbeat.

Dr. Sara Young sees patients in our Chapel Hill and North Durham offices. Call 919-595-2000 to schedule an appointment today.