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This guideline covers the diagnosis and management of tinnitus in adult patients.
Virtually all adults will experience tinnitus at some point in their life, this is usually self-limiting. Bilateral tinnitus is almost never associated with significant pathology.
See 2WW guideline for guidance about suspected neurological cancers.
ENT/Audiological presentations which may include tinnitus and in which this might be relevant include, but are not limited to:
See 2WW guidelines for guidance about suspected head and neck cancers.
Persistent unilateral tinnitus with or without vertigo, hearing loss or other symptoms may sometimes represent acoustic neuroma, and certainly warrants investigation. However, acoustic neuroma is a benign and slow-growing tumour which does not require investigation via a 2WW pathway. It is also rare: only 2% of patients with unilateral tinnitus and sensorineural hearing loss are found to have an acoustic neuroma on MRI.
Audiology referrals should be sent to Chime Audiology as paper referrals as this service is not provided on e-Referral Service:
e-Referral Service Selection
This guideline has been signed off on behalf of the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.
Publication date: April 2019