You have a ringing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. It began quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of situations. But you’ve noticed how loud and persistent the tinnitus sounds have become after an entire day on the job at a construction site. These sounds can take many forms, like ringing, buzzing, or any number of noises. You don’t know if you should contact us or how ringing in your ears could even be treated.
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will differ from person to person and depend greatly on the origin of your hearing problems. But there are some 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. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a number of root issues. That’s why tinnitus is normally split into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical problem, such as an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Dealing with the root medical problem will usually be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is triggered by hearing damage or hearing loss is typically referred to as “non-medical” tinnitus. As time passes, 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 challenging to manage.
The best way to treat your symptoms will be determined by the underlying cause of your hearing issue and the kind of tinnitus you have.
Treating medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will normally go away when the root medical problem is treated. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these cases to treat other symptoms.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is caused by a tumor or other growth, doctors may perform surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will probably go-away when the infection clears.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to come see us so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently a lot more difficult to diagnose and manage than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There’s usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in situations where the tinnitus is a result of hearing damage). Treatments, instead focus on relieving symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- 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 tuned into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is producing.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can obtain training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely utilized method designed to help you achieve just that.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing gets worse. The tinnitus symptoms probably seem louder because everything else gets quieter (due to hearing impairment). When you utilize a hearing aid it raises the volume of the external world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Medications: Tinnitus is in some cases managed with experimental medication. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication mixtures can sometimes help reduce tinnitus symptoms. However, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll have to try numerous approaches in order to successfully treat your own hearing problems. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But numerous different treatment options are available that could reduce the symptoms. Finding the best one for you is the trick.