Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

How to Talk With Your Doctor About Tinnitus

How to Talk With Your Doctor About Tinnitus

Have you noticed a buzzing, ringing, hissing, or clicking sound that only you can hear? If so, you may have tinnitus. It can be mild or loud, and affect one or both ears.  

Recommended Related to Ear Disorders

Understanding Tinnitus -- Symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus include a noise in the ears, such as ringing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, or whistling; the noise may be intermittent or continuous. Most of the time, only the person who has tinnitus can hear it (subjective tinnitus). However, there are some types that the doctor can hear if a stethoscope is put in the ear (objective tinnitus).  

Read the Understanding Tinnitus -- Symptoms article > >

Tinnitus is not a disease. It's a problem in your hearing system. It's usually not a sign of anything serious, though you should see your doctor to get it checked out.

What Your Doctor Needs to Know About Tinnitus

How tinnitus affects your life is important for diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor may ask:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • Do the symptoms make it hard to concentrate, sleep, or work?
  • Has tinnitus caused relationship problems or made it hard to do daily tasks?

Loud noises and aging are common causes of tinnitus. A health problem, such as thyroid imbalance or high blood pressure, can also cause it. So can earwax, if it blocks the ear canal. Sometimes there is no clear cause.

When you meet with your doctor, be ready to answer questions like these:

  • Have you had any long-term exposure to loud noises, including at work?
  • Have you been exposed to an extremely loud noise, such as an explosion?
  • What prescription drugs do you take?
  • What over-the-counter drugs, supplements, or natural remedies do you take, if any?
  • Have you ever had any head or neck injuries?

Certain things can trigger bouts of tinnitus, or worsen it. Your doctor may ask:

  • Do you drink alcohol or caffeine?
  • Do you smoke cigarettes?
  • Are you under a lot of stress?

That information can help your doctor determine what treatment may help.

Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor About Tinnitus

Learning about tinnitus can help you manage it. Ask your doctor these questions so you better understand your condition.

  • What is tinnitus?
  • What causes it?
  • Can you tell what's causing my tinnitus?
  • Will it go away on its own?
  • Can other people hear the noise in my ears?
  • Will tinnitus damage my hearing?
  • Does having tinnitus mean I have hearing loss?

Tinnitus can be treated. The treatment depends on what's causing it and how severe it is. You may want to ask your doctor these questions to learn about your options:

  • What are the treatments for tinnitus?
  • Are there any risks or side effects from the treatment?
  • What can I do on my own to manage tinnitus?
  • How can I stop tinnitus from getting worse?

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on December 18, 2012

Hot Topics

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

tea
What you should eat.
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
colon xray
Get the facts.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
fruit drinks
Foods that can help you focus.
Sad dog and guacamole
Don't feed this to your dog.
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.