You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. It started off quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” kind of things. But you’ve noticed how loud and persistent the tinnitus sounds have become after a full day on the job at a construction site. These noises can take many forms, like ringing, buzzing, or any number of noises. You’re thinking about coming in to see us, but you’re not sure: how is ringing in the ears managed?
The treatment of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will vary from person to person and depend considerably on the source of your hearing problems. But there are certain common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus therapy.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is incredibly common. There can be a number of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is usually divided into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Underlying medical problems, including ear infections, excessive earwax, a growth, or other medical issues, can be the cause of tinnitus. Medical professionals will typically attempt to treat the underlying problem as their main priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is usually reserved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing loss. Severe, constant, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage caused by long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). Non-medical tinnitus is often more difficult to treat.
The best way to treat your symptoms will be determined by the root cause of your hearing problem and the kind of tinnitus you have.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is a result of a root medical ailment, it’s likely that managing your initial illness or disorder will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Treatments for medical tinnitus could include:
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will most likely disappear when the infection clears up.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is triggered by a tumor or other growth, doctors could perform surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to get a consultation so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re dealing with medical tinnitus.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
Typically, medical tinnitus is a lot easier to diagnose and treat than non-medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure particularly if it’s related to hearing impairment. Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices hide your tinnitus noises by creating enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. Certain sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is generating.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can get training that will help you learn to disregard your tinnitus sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly utilized method designed to help you achieve just that.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for dealing with tinnitus. For instance, steroids and anti-anxiety medication mixtures can sometimes help reduce tinnitus symptoms. However, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing gets worse. When you are dealing with hearing impairment everything externally gets quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. When you utilize a hearing aid it raises the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
Find what works
For the majority of us, it won’t be completely clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll have to try multiple strategies in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But many different treatment options are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is finding the one that works for you.