Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor (ENT) Questions Audiologist

Ringing in left ear?

It started at 5am this morning, my left ear started ringing. It's a very high pitch sound (kind of like the sound for hearing tests). It gets louder if I put anything by my ear or if I go in a quiet place. It is now almost 4pm and it's still very high pitched and it makes it hard to hear.

Female | 34 years old
Complaint duration: 1 day

6 Answers

Because the tinnitus is not going away, I would be concerned for sudden sensorineural hearing loss. This should be evaluated with an audiogram to be sure. If you do have sudden hearing loss, you have a 4 week window to be treated with a burst of steroids to possible improve the nerve recovery.
Several possible causations: A viral infection, acoustic trauma, aspirin/ibuprofen usage, head injury, microvascular cochlear injury, smoking, alcohol intake, numerous other medications which are associated with tinnitus. Advise to see ENT for evaluation and audiogram.
Sometimes we (humans) experience "transient ear noise" that comes and goes and doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong with you or your auditory system. However, when you have loud tinnitus that doesn't subside after a few minutes, it could mean something more serious is happening. My suggestion is that you contact your nearest otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) and tell them you need to be seen ASAP. Immediate treatment can reverse or reduce the long-term effect. Left untreated, you could suffer additional damage and symptoms, such as permanent hearing loss, dizziness, and tinnitus.
Anything you can think of that triggered it (i.e. noise, medicine, etc)? Are you noticing hearing loss, dizziness or ear fullness with it? You could wait it out for a day or two to see if it goes away or you could go see an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) physician. To get in right away, you can tell them you've had sudden onset tinnitus in one ear and they'll usually prioritize you otherwise they may be booked out days or weeks.
If you feel that the hearing has also decreased, I would encourage you to call for an ASAP appointment with an ENT. You can tell them you’ve experienced “sudden hearing loss and ringing” in one ear and they should get you in quickly to investigate what could be going on. Best of luck!
Any sudden change like you describe that is not connected to an identifiable loud noise exposure like you attended a loud concert, and is not subsiding, should be evaluated immediately. If the tinnitus is due to a sudden sensorineural hearing loss, immediate treatment may make the difference between recovery and a permanent condition. I recommend you see an audiologist and an ENT physician immediately for evaluation.