When to see a doctor about tinnitus

See a doctor to identify underlying causes.


The sounds in your ear might not result in permanent tinnitus.

The ringing or buzzing might only be a temporary reaction to recent exposure to loud noises.

You might have been to a rock concert, or a fireworks display.

You could have forgotten to wear ear protection while on the ride-on lawnmower or during a session with the chainsaw.

This might have resulted in relatively minor damage to the hair cells in the cochlea which is found in the inner ear.

The hair cells are tipped with groups of hair-like extensions known as stereocilia.

When damaged, they can send false information to your brain, via the auditory nerves.

However, these tiny tips have the abilty to heal within a day or so.

Before your condition gets out of hand, consider an holistic approach. Read about it here.


See your doctor if the ringing lasts more than a few days.


Repeated exposure to loud noise will damage your hair cells for good.

Get a checkup if the the noise in your ears is accompanied by dizziness or pain.

This may actually be an indicator for Meniere’s disease or other neurological conditions. Call a doctor immediately.

Having tinnitus itself can be a symptom of high blood pressure or an under active thyroid gland.

See your GP if in addition to the noise in your ears, you have pain or pus in the ear(s). This can be an ear infection.

It’s probably a good idea that any symptoms of tinnitus be looked at by a doctor.

Symptoms of tinnitus may be caused by a perforated eardrum, a middle ear infection, or a reaction to medication to name a few.

Get a doctor’s appointment if you’ve had a chest infection through a cold or flu, and your tinnnitus is still present a week later.

Tinnitus can start for no apparent reason, so let your doctor go through his checklist with you.

It’s sometimes hard to tell what the cause is and seeing a doctor can be beneficial with tinnitus getting louder.


Loud noise is probably the most common reason for tinnitus

You need to use ear protection when you know you are going to be exposed to a long period of excessive noise.

We all have different threshholds to pain or tolerance levels for noise.

Sound levels are measured in decibels, and the magic number is generally regarded as 85.

ear protection

sound advice

Below 85 decibels is considered as the safe zone.

Repeated exposure above this level is where your problems begin.

An occasional visit to a rock concert will see you blasted by 140 decibels of sound.

If you are lucky, the resultant ringing in your ears will fade over the following 24 hours.

I remember once, after a Rolling Stones concert (front row seats, which we stood on, lol) not being able to hold a conversation in a quiet living room.

We had to shout to each other, even though the concert was long past.

Thankfully, my discomfort was short-lived, although I do still have occasional bouts of tinnitus at night.


You are certainly not alone when it comes to issues with tinnitus


According to the American Tinnitus Association, for around 12 million people in the U.S. the unwanted sounds never stop.

Some well-known personalities have been forced to live with tinnitus after being subjected to loud noises.

Actor/comedian, Steve Martin experienced problems after a loud explosion on the set of “Three Amigos”.

Actor/TV host, William Shatner had problems with his hearing after a similar explosive incident while filming “Star trek”.

Leading musicians, Pete Townsend and Neil Young also suffer ear problems after years of high-powered concerts.


So, where does the safe decibel level of below 85 sit in the scheme of things.

Check out this list compiled by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and health.

  • Ringing telephone – 30 decibels
  • Normal conversation – 60 decibels.
  • Lawn Mower – 90 decibels.
  • Chainsaw – 110 decibels.
  • Ambulance siren – 120 decibels.
  • Rock concert – 140 decibels
  • 12-gauge shotgun – 165 decibels.

Your tinnitus may have nothing to do with excessive noise or damaged hair cells.


It could be through something as mundane as a build-up of earwax, or a common ear infection.

Your doctor can relieve you symptoms by applying drops to soften the wax and then removing by suction, or with the help of other instruments such as a curette.

Your symptoms might be the result of a more serious underlying condition like a tumor or calcium deposits on the ear bones, known as otosclerosis.

It might be because of something quite unrelated to loud noise or the ears themselves.

One such situation which could lead to tinnitus symptoms, is a problem with your jaw.

Called temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ (thankfully), it means you are referred to a dental specialist for treatment.

By seeing your doctor, you stand a better chance of preventing your tinnitus getting worse.


Unfortunately there is no guaranteed tinnitus remedy


Your doctor could identify, and eliminate the underlying reasons for the irritating sounds.

For some this could be a complete solution, for others, the sounds persist.

There are many medications used to treat tinnitus, including anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium, or antidepressants like Elavil.

Steroids placed in the middle ear, or hormone treatment have proven effective for some.

A variety of drugs are being trialled, as is the way they are administered.


It is imperative you see your doctor before trying any sort of medication for tinnitus.


Even homeopathic remedies should only be tried  after thorough research.

Apart from the risks of side-effects, your doctor will inform you of the practicality of such treatment.

  • What are the risks vs benefits?
  • Will it mean a change to your lifestyle (not always a bad thing)?
  • How expensive will drug treatment be?
  • Is surgery an option?
  • Have you any recourse to compensation if things go wrong?


The good news about tinnitus is that it can clear up over time without any intervention.

The bad news is that some cases, never are completely cured.

Given the many underlying conditions that cause this distressing condition, sometimes taking a holistic approach to manage tinnitus is the best option.