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” 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. 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 buzzing is called) will differ from person to person and depend significantly on the source of your hearing issues. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus therapy.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not uncommon. There can be numerous causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus sounds you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is usually divided into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical issue, such as an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Medical providers will usually try to treat the underlying issue as their primary priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is related to hearing damage or hearing loss is usually referred to as “non-medical” tinnitus. As time passes, exposure to harmful noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, severe, and chronic tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus is usually more difficult to treat.
The best way to treat your symptoms will be determined by the root cause of your hearing issue and the kind of tinnitus you have.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will typically improve when the root medical problem is treated. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to do surgery to remove any tumor or growth that could be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- 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 manage other symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is a result of an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Once the infection clears up, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
If your tinnitus is caused by a medical issue, you’ll want to contact us to get individualized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
Typically, medical tinnitus is a lot easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There is usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in situations where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing worsens. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else becomes quieter (because of hearing loss). When you utilize a hearing aid it raises the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes managed with experimental medication. For instance, steroids and anti-anxiety medication mixtures can sometimes help minimize tinnitus symptoms. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to talk to us.
- 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. These devices can be attenuated to produce certain sounds designed to balance out your tinnitus symptoms.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can obtain training that will help you learn to disregard your tinnitus sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely used method created to help you achieve just that.
Find what works
In order to effectively treat your hearing problems you will probably need to try out several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus probably won’t be obvious. In most cases, 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.