Audiologists will recommend medical evaluation as necessary, but as a rule, see a physician right away if you have:
- Pain or discomfort in one or both ears
- Active drainage from one or both ears
- Sudden or ongoing dizziness
- Sudden hearing loss in both, or especially in only one ear (you may have a rare kind of sensorineural hearing loss that might be helped with medication if started soon enough).
If medical evaluation is recommended, your primary care physician is usually a good place to start. He or she may be able to remove earwax, treat common disorders like ear infections, and determine whether referral to an ear specialist is necessary. An ear specialist (otologist or otolaryngologist) is primarily a surgeon and can determine whether surgery is necessary. The specialist can also evaluate and treat more unusual ear disorders and remove deeply impacted earwax.