Tinnitus can be associated with conditions that occur in all areas of the auditory system, including external (earwax), middle ear (ear infection, otosclerosis, vascular problems), and inner ear (circulatory disorders, noise-induced hearing loss, ototoxic medications).
To rule out an underlying medical condition, such as tumors (rare) and Ménière’s disease, it is normal to see an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) for evaluation. Because approximately 90 percent of patients with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss, it is common to have an audiogram (hearing test). An audiological exam may yield information about the cause of tinnitus as well options for treatment.
An audiologist is trained to identify, diagnose, and manage or treat disorders of the auditory (e.g., hearing loss and tinnitus) and vestibular systems (e.g., dizziness). As part of a treatment program, audiologists may recommend hearing aids to make day-to-day listening easier, improve awareness, and help with tinnitus. Some audiologists may also have additional training in the specialized evaluation and management of tinnitus and provide services such as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, Tinnitus Activities Treatment, Progressive Tinnitus Management, etc.
Audiologists hold either a master's’ (M.A. or M.S.) or doctorate (Au.D. or Ph.D.) degree in audiology. Audiologists work predominantly in private practices, otolaryngology (ENT) practices, academic medical centers and hospitals.