The ringing in your ear keeps getting worse. It started off quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” kind of situations. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve realized just how noisy (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. These noises can take many forms, such as ringing, buzzing, or any number of sounds. You don’t know if you should contact us or how ringing in your ears could even be managed.
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will differ from person to person and depend greatly on the source of your hearing problems. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus treatment.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not unusual. There can be a number of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). So when it comes to treatment, tinnitus is often split into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical problem, like an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Medical providers will usually try to treat the root issue as their main priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is triggered by hearing damage or hearing impairment is typically known as “non-medical” tinnitus. Over time, exposure to damaging noise (such as the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, significant, and chronic tinnitus. It’s usually very challenging to manage non-medical tinnitus.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing condition, will determine the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will typically clear up when the root medical issue is addressed. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Hydrocortisone: Some types of infections will not respond to antibiotics. For instance, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is caused by a tumor or other growth, doctors could do surgery to remove the mass that’s causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life.
- Antibiotics: Your doctor might prescribe you with antibiotics if your tinnitus is related to a bacterial ear infection. Once the infection goes away, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
You’ll want to make an appointment to come see us so we customize a tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you’re dealing with medical tinnitus.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
In general, 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 loss. Treatments, instead focus on relieving symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more prominent as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid could help you manage the symptoms of both ailments. When you have hearing impairment everything outside gets quieter and that can make your tinnitus sounds seem louder. A hearing aid can help hide the sound of your tinnitus by raising the volume of everything else.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can get training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely used 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 decrease tinnitus symptoms. However, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
- Noise-masking devices: Often referred to as “white noise machines,” these devices are made to supply enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing due to your tinnitus. These devices can be attenuated to generate certain sounds designed to balance out your tinnitus symptoms.
Find what works
For the majority of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to try numerous approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But there are numerous treatments available. The trick is finding the one that works for you.