How is tinnitus diagnosed?
See your GP if you think you have tinnitus. Your condition may be caused by a temporary problem that they can treat, such as an infection or excess ear wax. If this isn’t the case, they should refer you to the ear, nose and throat (ENT) department of your local hospital for further tests.
You can expect to wait 6-18 weeks from visiting your GP to seeing an ENT specialist. See our section on managing tinnitus for tips to help you deal with tinnitus in the meantime.
What if I can't get a referral?
If you find it hard to get a referral to an ENT department, it may be because your GP isn’t aware of the impact that tinnitus can have, or the help that’s available. Make sure you tell them how your tinnitus is affecting you – for example, is it making you anxious? Are you having problems sleeping or finding it hard to cope? If you still can’t get a referral, try seeing a different GP. Remember, you have the right to a second opinion.
What will happen when I’m referred?
You’ll be seen by either an audiologist (a hearing and balance specialist) or an ENT specialist. They will give you a check-up to see if there are any obvious causes of your tinnitus. You’ll also have a hearing test.
You may then be referred to a tinnitus clinic, for therapies to help you manage your tinnitus. Some hospitals have specialist tinnitus centres or clinics, but not all – you may need to travel a bit further to access one.