When to Seek Medical Care
Most newly noticed tinnitus should be evaluated by a physician. Because tinnitus is usually a symptom of something else, if it begins suddenly, see your doctor. This is particularly important if the tinnitus is only heard on one side.
Although the majority of cases of tinnitus are not caused
by any acute problems, certain symptoms need to be evaluated to determine whether or not a more serious medical condition is causing the symptoms.
- Any time that tinnitus comes on suddenly, particularly in one ear or is associated with hearing loss, seek an immediate evaluation. Sudden hearing loss is often accompanied by tinnitus, and there are medications that may help to restore that hearing. Also certain types of tumors can cause sudden hearing loss and tinnitus that warrant an evaluation.
- Tinnitus that is pulsatile (in rhythm with your heartbeat) and comes on suddenly should also be checked relatively rapidly. In very rare instances, this sort of tinnitus can develop because of an aneurysm (a bulging
of the wall of a blood vessel) near the ear or because of the sudden onset of very high blood pressure.
- Any time tinnitus is noticed in association with changes in personality, difficulty speaking or walking, or with any other movement problem, you should be evaluated for the possibility of a stroke.
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