You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. At first, you could hardly hear it. But after spending all day at the construction site (for work), you’ve noticed just how loud (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re not sure: how is ringing in the ears addressed?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will vary from person to person and depend considerably on the source of your hearing problems. But your own tinnitus treatment will share some common threads with others that can help you get prepared.
There are a couple of different kinds 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 usually split into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Inherent medical issues, including ear infections, too much earwax, a growth, or other medical issues, can be the cause of tinnitus. Medical professionals will usually try to treat the root issue as their primary priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally reserved for tinnitus caused by hearing damage or hearing impairment. Over time, exposure to harmful noise (such as the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, severe, and chronic tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus is often more challenging to treat.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing affliction, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will normally improve when the root medical issue is treated. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be addressed with antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is a result of a tumor or other growth, doctors could do surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, especially 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 might prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will probably disappear when the infection clears.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to come see us so we customize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Non-medical tinnitus treatments
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are often much more difficult to identify and manage than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There is usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in cases where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead highlight treating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some situations, 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.
- 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. When you utilize a hearing aid it raises the volume of the external world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Noise-masking devices: Often referred to as “white noise machines,” these devices are created to supply enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing due to your tinnitus. These devices can be attenuated to generate certain sounds created to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes treated with experimental medication. For instance, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help minimize tinnitus symptoms. Still, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
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 numerous approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But many different treatments are available that could decrease the symptoms. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.