Questions to Ask a Health Professional
What tinnitus treatments do you use in your practice?
Look for a health care professional who is aware of the latest treatment options, like masking or sound therapy, and who is certified in providing such treatments. Also, look for someone who wants to find the right treatment for you—not someone who just pushes one treatment over another. Your tinnitus is as individual as your treatment, and what works for one person may not work for you.
What tests do you require or suggest?
You want to know why your ears are ringing, and you want to figure out how to alleviate the noise. Your health care provider should have different ways to evaluate you, your hearing, and your tinnitus. Find out what he or she suggests—and what the tests are supposed to reveal.
What are the risks or side effects of this treatment or medication?
Certain treatments may affect you in different ways. Often, just knowing in advance what you should expect from your treatment will help you to respond more favorably—there’s no mystery to worry you. Be sure to ask what/why/how so that you are informed.
What is the success rate of the proposed treatment?
A high success rate does not necessarily mean that a certain treatment is for you, but it could help you select appropriate care. Consider how different treatments might work in combination with each other. Does the health care professional have ideas about why a specific treatment might work well for you? If the health care professional offers a complete cure of your tinnitus, you may have cause for concern. Instead, ask about the potential benefits of different treatments: relief, lessening of tinnitus, habituation of tinnitus, etc.
Can we rule out a tumor so I can stop worrying?
A very small percentage of tinnitus patients have an acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor on the acoustic and vestibular nerves in the inner ear. Usually, this accompanies unilateral tinnitus, or tinnitus in just one ear, and often occurs simultaneously with hearing loss in one ear. Your doctor should be able to help you rule out an acoustic neuroma with questions and tests, and help you move on to other causes and treatments.
What else can I do on my own to help or improve my tinnitus?
Numerous outside acts can affect your tinnitus. Often, changing your diet can reduce the noise, as can exercise, stress control, counseling, and other stimuli. Ask your health care provider for easy changes you can make in your everyday life to help you cope.
How much of this treatment will be covered by my insurance?
Most insurance companies have far different approaches to covering tinnitus treatments. Better to research your coverage first so there are no surprises later. If you are uninsured, research options to help you pay for treatments—some providers even offer services on a sliding scale or payment plans.