The ringing in your ear keeps worsening. It began quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of situations. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve noticed just how loud (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. These noises 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 considerably on the origin of your hearing issues. But there are certain common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus treatment.
What kind of tinnitus do you have?
Tinnitus is not unusual. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of sounds) in your ear can be caused by a variety of root problems. That’s why tinnitus is usually divided into two categories in terms of treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical issue, like an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Medical professionals will usually try to treat the root issue as their main priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is usually saved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing impairment. As time passes, exposure to damaging noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause persistent, severe, and chronic tinnitus. It’s normally very challenging to treat non-medical tinnitus.
The best way to treat your symptoms will be determined by the underlying cause of your hearing problem and the kind of tinnitus you have.
Treating medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will usually improve when the underlying medical problem is addressed. 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 probably disappear when the infection clears up.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is triggered by a tumor or other growth, doctors could do 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. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
You’ll want to make an appointment to get a consultation so we customize a tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
Typically, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and treat than non-medical tinnitus. There’s normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in cases where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Instead, treatment to improve quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more prominent as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid could help you control the symptoms of both conditions. When you are dealing with hearing impairment everything externally gets quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. A hearing aid can help hide the sound of your tinnitus by amping up the volume of everything else.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes treated with experimental medication. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by combinations of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. However, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
- Noise-masking devices: Sometimes referred to as “white noise machines,” these devices are created to provide enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the buzzing or ringing caused by your tinnitus. Specific sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is generating.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can obtain training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. This widely utilized strategy has helped many people do just that.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be completely clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll have to try multiple approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing issues. 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 identifying the one that works for you.