Is it possible to work as a nurse while experiencing tinnitus?


I just finished practical nursing school and am studying for my boards. I developed tinnitus two weeks after I finished the program. I can drown out the noise most of the time but sometimes it's very hard to concentrate. I cried my eyes out Sunday morning, it got to me so badly. I'm worried I'll end up on disability instead of pursuring a nursing career.

I've been to my PCP who said I had swimmer's ear and put me on antibiotic/steroid ear drops last evening. I also started taking an old Celebrex prescription to try to knock out any inflammation. It seems to be a softer high pitched eeeeee now but I'm scared to death it will come back full force once I stop the ear drops and Celebres. My hearing hasn't changed since this happened. I had some hearing loss in this ear before this happened.

I hadn't taken any new meds right before it happened. Was dunked in the water when I fell off a jet ski and water went up my nose. I had a virus just before it happened. Also had a fall on my rump when a chair broke.... yes, I heard someone saying on another forum that theirs started after a fall. Who knows.

I'm having what feels like the beginning of a panic attack this evening. Has anyone been able to live with this and work as a nurse?


11 Posts

Hey - old post I know, but I was wondering if you have any updates you would like to share regarding your tinnitus. I am in a similar situation.


60 Posts


I'm happy to say my tinnitus subsided. I still have it, but it's not near as bad as it was. I'm working now as an LPN in a big Internal Medicine group. I was feeling pretty bad when I wrote that and was just reaching out for some hope. I hope I can give hope to others by updating.

In reality, I think it depends on the degree of tinnitus because there are people who are disabled by it. I certainly believe it's possible because I was at that point in August 2012. The biggest help in calming it down was cutting out all caffeine (which was very hard to do but I had no choice), taking 3 steroid dosepaks and then trying to reduce stress and make sure I got enough sleep every night.

this made it tolerable. After finishing the steroids it continued to slowly get better, even while learning a new job, which was stressful.

I still have it but it's tolerable and often not noticable. I can work just fine.

Thanks for asking.


1,030 Posts

Specializes in MCH,NICU,NNsy,Educ,Village Nursing.

So glad, OP, that your tinnitus is manageable. I've had tinnitus myself for almost 4 years....allergies, stress, neck strain all contribute to mine. Thankfully, I can still hear heart sounds/lung sounds through my stethoscope. Sometimes, I hardly even notice it, other times (like now) it sounds as though I have a whole flock of cicadas in my head. Sometimes I also have vertigo, which really adds to the "fun" (Minere's). Ah, yes....

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

Although this thread was started a while back, I will chime in with my own personal experiences regarding tinnitus.

I've had tinnitus since 2001. Back then I was working in an extremely noisy factory with a noise level of 120+ decibels that could damage one's hearing if exposed too long. My earplugs didn't fit properly, and before long I was experiencing a constant ringing sound in my ears.

The ringing had never gone away. It still persists to this very day. The constant ringing and humming used to greatly bother me, but I have gotten so used to it over the years that it has become a mere afterthought.


11 Posts

Orange_dolphin, I am so glad that your tinnitus has become more manageable. I still have decent hearing for the most part, but I worry that my tinnitus will worsen to the point that it drives me crazy. I am starting nursing school this fall, and I do worry about it getting in the way of studying and so on.

I am getting a physical before I start classes in the fall, and I'll take advantage of that to bring up my tinnitus and mild hearing loss with my doctor. Maybe I can get a referral to an ear doctor to get a full prognosis for my hearing.