I'm a 45-year-old male, and started experiencing tinnitus eighteen days ago. It was preceded directly by an olfactory hallucination (smelling smoke that wasn't there, a symptom I have had in the past). Since then, I hear this continual buzzing, similar to static, nonpulsatile, often quite loud, and I do not hear it inside either of my ears; rather, it is like some ambient background noise and it is constant.
I saw my neurologist, who said it was just a normal part of aging, and referred me to an audiologist, despite the fact that the sound isn't in my ears and I had no complaint of hearing deficit. I saw the audiologist today, and was told my ears and hearing were fine. She also told me that in her fifteen years in the profession, she hadn't seen anyone who had experienced tinnitus as a background sound; that it was always heard inside one or both ears. She told me it sounded more like an auditory hallucination and referred me back to the neurologist.
This has me confused -- and very concerned. Can anyone shed some light on whether tinnitus can manifest as background noise, and what might cause it? I'd appreciate any insight.