Diagnosis - Tinnitus

Non-urgent advice: You should see a GP if:

  • you have tinnitus regularly or constantly
  • your tinnitus is getting worse
  • your tinnitus is bothering you – for example, it's affecting your sleep or concentration

Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment if you have tinnitus:

  • after a head injury
  • with sudden hearing loss
  • with weakness in the muscles of your face
  • with a spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • that beats in time with your pulse

What happens at your appointment

Your GP will look in your ears to see if your tinnitus is caused by something they can treat. This could include an ear infection or a build-up of earwax.

They might also check for any hearing loss.

They may also want to know if you're taking any medication that could cause the condition. For example high doses of antibiotics or aspirin.

You may be referred to a specialist for further tests and treatment.

Seeing a specialist

Your GP may refer you to a hearing specialist called an audiologist. They will carry out hearing tests and talk to you about treatments.

Your GP might also refer you to the ear, nose and throat (ENT) department of your hospital.

An ENT specialist will:

  • examine your ears
  • ask you about the noises you hear
  • carry out tests to try to see what's causing them


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 22 December 2020
Next review due: 22 December 2023

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