Question: Eight weeks ago I woke up with a ringing in my ear. I went to an ear, nose, and throat specialist and had a hearing test done, which revealed some hearing loss. He said I should get a hearing aid. But I hear fine. Is there any other test you’d recommend for the ringing in my ear?
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
You should have had an audiogram with air/bone conduction and an SRT — speech reception threshold — measurement. It’s unusual that a hearing aid was recommended to you when you report hearing well.
It’s a good time to get a second opinion from another ENT, or ask your primary care if he or she has any other ideas. It sounds like you’ve had a poor examination and sloppy set of recommendations.
There are other tests you can undergo, but I’m not sure they are indicated without having an audiogram first. In a worst-case scenario, tinnitus can reflect inner/middle ear damage, cholesteatoma, nerve damage, a tumor of the nerve canal (acoustic neuroma), an aneurism, or blood vessel disease.
Lab tests and MRI studies of the inner ear and the nerve canal may be ordered if an acoustic neuroma is suspected. But seek a second opinion.
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