You have a ringing 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 situations. But you’ve observed how loud and persistent the tinnitus sounds have become after a full day on the job at a construction site. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is buzzing 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 origin of your hearing problems. But there are certain common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus treatment.
There are a couple of different kinds of tinnitus
Tinnitus is extremely common. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of sounds) in your ear can be caused by a variety of root issues. That’s why tinnitus is normally divided into two categories in terms of treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical problem, like an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Medical providers will usually try to treat the underlying issue as their first priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is usually saved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing impairment. Over time, exposure to harmful noise (such as the noise at your construction site) can cause persistent, severe, and chronic tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus is often more difficult to treat.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing ailment, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will usually clear up when the root medical problem is treated. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is a result of 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: Doctors might decide to perform surgery to eliminate any tumor or growth that might be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- Hydrocortisone: Some types of infections will not respond to antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is a result of a medical issue, you’ll want to contact us to receive individualized treatment options.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
Typically, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and treat than non-medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure especially if it’s related to hearing impairment. Treatments, instead focus on alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing gets worse. When you have hearing loss everything externally becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. When you use a hearing aid it raises the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some instances, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly utilized method designed to help you reach just that.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for treating tinnitus. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be decreased by combinations of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to speak with us.
- Noise-masking devices: Often referred to as “white noise machines,” these devices are made to supply enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing caused by your tinnitus. Specific sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is creating.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to attempt numerous approaches in order to successfully treat your own hearing problems. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But many different treatment options are available that could lessen the symptoms. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.