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I have a high tone in my right ear. Do I need to see an audiologist or can I see any hearing professional?

Amit Gosalia, AuD

Board Certified Doctor of Audiology

30 August 2018 - 3.4K Views

Thanks for asking about the tone in your ear. The common term used when describing a sound in your ear(s) that is not generated from your environments is called tinnitus. Tinnitus has many causes, and there are many solutions, however, no solid cure. That does not mean it can not be helped. 

Based on the comments, I think something needs to be cleared up. You should  understand who is licensed to work with patients with tinnitus and who is not. 

An Audiologist is a doctor (AuD) or a professional with a Master's degree in Audiology, who should be your first point of contact, unless this was a sudden onset along with other symptoms, in which case we recommend you see an Otolaryngologist (ENT) ASAP. Most Otolaryngologists (MD or DO) will refer you to an Audiologist to do a diagnostic workup - in fact, some Audiologists work in conjunction with Otolaryngologists under one roof, which is highly convenient, but not required. 

A hearing aid dispenser (HIS, BC-HIS, AAS) is a licensed professional who mainly sells and fits hearing aids, and is not required to take any college level coursework in medical diagnoses of the hearing system. In most states, the minimum is a high school degree, some on the job training and passing of a state exam. Most hearing aid dispensers are highly competent in the areas of hearing aids. However, they are not licensed to work with tinnitus - it is NOT in their scope of practice. Any dispenser who uses a tinnitus masker or even one within a hearing aid, is in violation of the FDA's class 2 medical device rules. Although some have taken courses to learn more about tinnitus, which is lauded, they are not the primary contact. 

If a hearing aid (without a tinnitus masker) is recommended, then by all means, an Audiologist or hearing aid dispenser would be appropriate to help! 

Just know there's help for your tinnitus, however, see an audiologist first. Good luck! 

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Cynthia Modrosic, AuD


30 August 2018 - 3.43K Views

I recommend seeing an audiologist for tinnitus, especially one that is only in one ear. This is a red flag that a medical evaluation is needed. After testing, an audiologist will then refer you on to ear, nose, and throat physician for a medical work up.
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Sheri Gostomelsky, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

30 August 2018 - 3.4K Views

One sided symptoms always require attention.  You should make an appointment to see an audiologist.  The audiologist will take a thorough case history, examine your ears, evaluate your hearing and the tinnitus or ear noises you are experiencing.  Most likely you will be referred to an otolaryngologist or ENT specialist for follow up.  We only get one set of ears.  Take good care of them!
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Brock Sturlaugson, AuD

Hearing Healthcare Provider

30 August 2018 - 3.43K Views

You are describing tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Most tinnitus is "sensorineural," meaning that it's due to hearing loss at the cochlea or cochlear nerve level but may also come from other sources. An audiologist can be a great person to start with and they'd be able to determine the best next step after assessing your case history and hearing.

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Doctor of Audiology in Clermont

30 August 2018 - 3.44K Views

It sounds like you are describing tinnitus.  You should see an audiologist or ENT physician regarding that.  A hearing aid specialist is trained in hearing aids but not in the diagnosis & treatment of tinnitus.  Best of luck to you! 
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Audiologist in West Hampstead

30 August 2018 - 3.44K Views

It sounds as if you are referring to tinnitus.

In the UK any audiology professional should be referring you to your GP who should then refer you on to an ENT Specialist to rule out any underlying issue as tinnitus in one ear is medically referrable.

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Mark Butler, AAS

Hearing Healthcare Provider

30 August 2018 - 3.41K Views

If this is a sudden onset see an ENT immediately, not a general practitioner, audiologist, or hearing aid specialist.  They are best suited to diagnose what is going on and there may be issues that need immediate treatment.  Tinnitus is most often a symptom of hearing loss but is also a common side effect of many medications and may be caused by a number of other things.  It may be constant and unchanging or be completely unpredictable.  Even if this is a long standing issue I would recommend seeing an ENT first.  If the ENT determines that hearing loss is the issue then you can choose an audiologist or hearing aid specialist who is familiar with the tinnitus features built into most hearing aids.  Either one should be trained to treat tinnitus.  While tinnitus is not "curable" there are a number of methods that may provide some degree of relief.  I am a hearing aid specialist and I work with tinnitus almost every day with numerous patients.  Many audiologists and hearing aid specialists aren't comfortable treating tinnitus so ask questions before you choose one to see. 
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Matt Watson, HIS

Hearing Instrument Specialist

30 August 2018 - 3.44K Views

A high pitched tone in your ear, with no external source is generally something called tinnitus.  There is no specific cure for this, but there are many options to work with tinnitus sufferers.  If there is a hearing loss, as well as tinnitus, there are hearing aids with built in programs to help lessen the severity and impact of the ringing.   If you only have tinnitus without hearing loss, there are various coping strategies and treatments that some clinics offer.  You don't have to see an audiologist, many hearing instrument specialists are quite knowledgable on the subject as well.  I would suggest seeking out a provider with lots of tinnitus information on their website, as they should be the most knowledgable and have the best resources for you.

Best of luck!

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