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When To See A Doctor For Tinnitus or Sudden Hearing Loss

With a dual problem of NHS pressures and a cost of living crisis, people are putting off making enquiries to their GP’s, referrals are not always being accepted and waiting lists are long - yet private treatment is not always affordable.

Do not delay, however, if you experience a sudden (over hours/days) hearing loss. You must seek medical advice immediately (an audiologist can advise you and can confirm the cause of loss, but the treatment is medical).

Tinnitus which is unilateral (one sided) or has a sound which pulses like a heartbeat (regardless of the actual type of noise that it's making) must also be investigated medically, as long as it also lasts longer than 5 minutes. Tinnitus that is causing you acute distress or sleeplessness should also be flagged up if you are finding it difficult to cope.

Please contact an audiologist such as Hearing and Tinnitus Care for advice if you are having problems and have not been able to get suitable advice. Sudden hearing loss can often be assumed to be earwax blockage, but if you have no history of wax buildup and no other symptoms such as crackling/popping sounds then it may be viral, and may be somewhat reversible with very prompt treatment.

Generally speaking, we want to know about anything unusual, so anything that's not a very gradual hearing loss in both ears in an over 55 year old is worthy of investigation.

Rarely, but not never, we come across patients who have been given incorrect advice over the phone or have had their concerns ignored. Now is not the time for bashing our overworked and dedicated doctors and nurses, however if you need a second opinion on your hearing/tinnitus you should contact an audiologist who is qualified to understand both. We can provide advice and information based on your symptoms/history to either support you in seeking medical intervention or reassure you that you are experiencing something normal.

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