Faster ENT Appointments in the UK? They Are Saying I Have to Wait 17 Weeks!

Discussion in 'Support' started by Adrianfox, Oct 24, 2019.

    1. Adrianfox
      Happy

      Adrianfox Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Tinnitus no longer existing
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Viral infection
      What’s the best way to get an ENT appointment in the UK?

      I‘m new to tinnitus and have had it for four weeks now. It’s deeply distressing and I can’t imagine having to deal with it for much longer. I don’t even know what caused it.

      I live in the Midlands/Warwickshire area and asked to be referred to an ENT specialist rather than wait...

      17 week waiting time.

      Does anyone know of any shorter waiting times elsewhere in the UK? Or how much it is to go private?

      All the best.
       
    2. Chinmoku

      Chinmoku Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly medication
      There are private ENT doctors in Coventry:

      https://finder.bupa.co.uk/Consultant/view/33006/mr_stephen_rejali

      You could call and ask for a quote. Be careful that if the doctor requires tests you will have to pay for those.

      Unfortunately the NHS does not consider tinnitus as urgent.

      My experience is that private ENTs will want to do lots of tests, some even useless or potentially damaging, and try a lot of treatments, while NHS ENTs will tend to do the minimum and prescribe nothing.

      To add to the above: my private ENT had me do MRI, cochleography (very loud), vEMP, tympanometry, otoacoustic emissions, hearing tests and an autoimmune blood test. He gave me oral steroids, vasodilators, antiviral. Nothing worked. Next he wanted to do intratympanic injections and insert grommets. I went for a second opinion and they advised against. I sought for a third one and again against. By that time I got my NHS appointment so I transitioned to the NHS. The NHS ENT only looked at my hearing test and told me I had to live with it, fifteen minutes appointment. Referred me to audiology. They gave me advice that would work for mild tinnitus but that was useless for my severe case. They gave me hearing aids with customized white noise, but those didn't help because my tinnitus is reactive. I'm now desperate and ENTs gave up on me. But I wish you luck, your case will be probably much easier.

      Also, some people do respond well to early use of steroids, and that is possible only by seeing a private ENT because it has to be done definitely before 17 weeks. My experience with NHS ENTs at a good hospital was that they didn't really consider tinnitus as a serious condition, despite the condition having me feeling like jumping off a bridge every day and ruining my job and family life. I guess they see very few severe cases. They would basically do nothing except the standard stuff that works for easy cases.
       
    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI @Adrianfox

      My advice to you is to wait the 17 weeks for your appointment. Under no circumstances go to any private ENT clinic because you are wasting your money that I assure you. No private ENT clinic in the UK can match the NHS for treatment for tinnitus and long term aftercare for the condition. I have been an out-patient under the NHS for 23 years and have had very good treatment. Ideally, I would prefer you to wait 6 months for your first appointment at ENT and there is a good reason for this that I have explained in my articles in the links below. Please take your time and read them slowly and thoroughly to absorb the information. If you have a printer it is better to print them and refer to the documents often.

      Many people habituate to tinnitus within the first 6 to 12 months without treatment and it can go completely away or reduce to a very low level on it's own accord. Starting treatment too early can in some instances make the tinnitus more intrusive. I know someone in this forum that wouldn't listen to my advice, when I suggested to leave things alone the tinnitus was low to moderate. In time it will reduce as the brain learns to habituate. This person wouldn't let it go and pursued other ENT clinics until one was found that would carry out additional tests that were quite unnecessary. Unfortunately these tests were quite invasive and the tinnitus and hyperacusis increased.

      A Private ENT clinic will gladly take your money and when tests are complete you'll be told nothing can be done go to the NHS. Unless you have additional problems such as: pain in the ears, dizziness, deafness, balance problems, then explain this to your GP who may fast track your appointment. However, the best thing is to be patient and wait for your appointment.

      Read my posts in the links below.
      All the best

      Michael

      PS: The most common cause of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise. If you are a regular user of headphones, headset or go to clubs and concerts often. It is likely your tinnitus is noise induced. Therefore, I strongly advise you not to use headphones even at low volume, as you risk the tinnitus becoming worse. More is explained in the links.

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/new-to-tinnitus-what-to-do.12558/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-a-personal-view.18668/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/acquiring-a-positive-mindset.23969/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-and-the-negative-mindset.23705/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/the-habituation-process.20767/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/is-positivity-important.23150/
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Tinnitus is a very complex condition. When there is no underlying medical problem causing it as in "Noise induced" the patient is usually referred to Audiology to see a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis treatment and management. Depending on which NHS trust and hospital a person attends, a variety of treatments are available. This can be: TRT (elements of it) , CBT, Counselling, Relaxation classes, Mindfullness, Sound Therapy using white noise generators. Hearing aids if required and medication under the guidance of a doctor.

      Michael
       
    5. Chinmoku

      Chinmoku Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly medication
      That is a good point. In an ideal world someone with severe tinnitus, especially of unknown origin, would be assisted by a team comprising an otologist, a neurologist, an audiologist, a TMJ dentist, possibly a psychiatrist and other specialists in autoimmune diseases. In reality one is often left with a general ENT and an audiologist if one is lucky.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @Chinmoku

      I have corresponded with you at length via PM message so know your situation quite well. The NHS is not perfect and has its problems. However, be in no doubt it is one of the best healthcare systems in the world and it is totally free at "point of delivery" and I hope this continues. I correspond with people beyond our shores and listen to some of the horror stories from people in distress with tinnitus and can't get any help with their tinnitus because of the huge sums of money that doctors want to treat them privately, because tinnitus treatment is not covered under some healthcare systems. Some people are deliberately being sold expensive hearing aids to treat tinnitus costing more than £2500, even though they have no hearing loss outrageous. Believe it because it's true. I could go on and on. I am just thankful for the treatment I have had under NHS and would never knock it.

      I do not want to comment further on this. I have given my advice to @Adrianfox and I hope he listens because I am right.

      All the best
      Michael
       
    7. Chinmoku

      Chinmoku Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly medication
      I don't doubt your experience, Michael, and I am sure you received excellent care. In my case I have been given hearing aids with customized white noise but no proper TRT, just a one hour meeting with an audiologist. I didn't even get CBT. My tinnitus reacts to white noise so I stopped using the aids. It keeps worsening and I am losing my job and my family is in jeopardy. The NHS ENT doctor gave up on me. I think that experiences may vary a lot across hospital, departments and doctors, but again I understand your experience has been positive and I understand your advice.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    8. Harley

      Harley Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Make sure you read the threads about which procedures to avoid at the ENT, as most of them know very little about tinnitus and how it affects people.
       
    9. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @Chinmoku

      I am very sorry to hear of the distress that you are in and believe me when I say I understand. Unfortunately, proper TRT is not so easily available on the NHS although there are elements of it given at some hospitals. This condition isn't easy for I spent 4 years habituating to tinnitus for the 2nd time. Two years of that was having TRT. There was some improvement but not like the first time I had it back in 1996.

      As I have said tinnitus is complex and more so by one's individuals circumstances. Their work, family etc. Your job situation or rather its uncertainty can cause addition stress which can make the tinnitus more problematic. It can result in a minefield of confusion and discontent. I would like to make a suggestion. If you are able to contact an NHS hospital where counselling, TRT or CBT is practiced to help tinnitus patients, and if you are able to travel, I feel confident that your GP will be able to refer you. It is just a thought.

      Take care and I hope you are able to find some help soon.
      All the best

      Michael
       
    10. Chinmoku

      Chinmoku Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly medication
      Thank you, Michael, that is a good suggestion. I will enquire on which hospitals offer TRT and talk to my GP.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I wish you the best of luck.
      Take care
      Michael
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Adrianfox
      Happy

      Adrianfox Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Tinnitus no longer existing
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Viral infection
      Hi all and thank you for your responses so far. I went to my GP for a third time outlining the stress and disruption it is causing to my work life, the painful/discharging ears whenever they are checked with an otoscope, and the weird fluctuation/intermittance of the tinnitus- and they have just fast-tracked me as "Urgent" to see an ENT from the NHS. I should receive my referral letter in the mail shortly.
      Thank you Michael for your response. I've started checking your links out and plan to absorb them at a better time later this evening. I can understand and appreciate your feedback regarding a six month wait. Would you advise the same if my tinnitus is unilateral? The GP expressed concern that it isn't bilateral and I think off that basis, offered an urgent referral. Should I be concerned at this?
       
    13. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Adrian,
      I am not home presently so will reply in more detail within 2 hours.
      Take care
      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
    14. Chinmoku

      Chinmoku Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly medication
      While waiting for Michael, I would day that if it is unilateral usually an MRI is recommended to exclude acoustic neuroma. The problem is MRI machines are loud. Buy some earplugs and see if you can find earmuffs that are good for use with MRI. The hospital will offer headphones but I would not count on them.
       
    15. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI @Adrianfox

      Whether the tinnitus is unilateral or bilateral I do not believe is of importance at this stage. What I believe is more significant is whether you have "noise induced" tinnitus or there is an underlying medial problem within your auditory system that is causing it? The painful discharge from your ear probably needs to be investigated by an ENT doctor and this is probably the reason your GP wants to fast-track your appointment.

      I feel this is the right approach just try and be calm. The advice @Chinmoku has given you regarding MRI is good. Tinnitus can be complex and the ear delicate. just try and be patient.

      All the best
      Michael
       
    16. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Adrianfox
      Happy

      Adrianfox Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Tinnitus no longer existing
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Viral infection
      Thank you Michael and @Chinmoku. It's very frustrating... just the one ear. I had total silence for about three or four hours today, no tinnitus! And then half an hour ago as I was making my first drink for the weekend... bang. Right ear is going crazy with high frequency tinnitus again - multiple tones, on-off-on-off, etc. I'm so upset with it!
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    17. Chinmoku

      Chinmoku Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown, possibly medication
      It's sad, I know, but I would avoid alcohol. It's a gaba agonist, so it will calm your brain temporarily, but when the effect is over tinnitus might rebound worse than before.
       
      • Like Like x 1

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