Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Is There Relief For Chronic Tinnitus?

Monday, 19 July 2010 09:33 AM

Question: I have suffered with tinnitus in my left ear for the last seven months. I have been to several ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctors, and even had a CTT scan. Is there help?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Tinnitis or ringing in the ears has many causes. After local reasons are eliminated, such as noise induced hearing loss, a full investigation is warranted. Normally, hearing tests using air and bone conduction tests are performed. Depending upon their results, further evaluation takes place.

This is far too an involved topic to tackle in this column, but suffice it to say that ENT specialists are the correct people to evaluate for ear disorders, but you haven’t described even the most basic workup. A CTT scan is not the imaging of choice for evaluating for acoustic neuroma, which includes hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, and other symptoms, unless you are unsuitable for MRI study. Ask your doctor if there was a reason why an MRI was not performed, and be sure you have had a complete evaluation to exclude local causes of tinnitis.

Be sure you have a complete physical re-evaluation, hearing, blood tests, chemistries, carotid studies, and cardiac evaluation. If no cause is found, you may need to consult with a neurologist. Good luck.

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