Trapped-ion quantum platforms are subject to “anomalous” heating due to interactions with electric-field noise sources of nature not yet completely known. There is ample experimental evidence that this noise originates at the surfaces of the trap electrodes, and models assuming fluctuating pointlike dipoles are consistent with observations, but the exact microscopic mechanisms behind anomalous heating remain undetermined. Here we show how a two-ion probe displays a transition in its dissipation properties, enabling experimental access to the mean orientation of the dipoles and the spatial extent of dipole-dipole correlations. This information can be used to test the validity of candidate microscopic models, which predict correlation lengths spanning several orders of magnitude. Furthermore, we propose an experiment to measure these effects with currently available traps and techniques.