You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not improving, if anything it’s getting worse. At first, you could hardly notice it. But you’ve noticed how loud and persistent the tinnitus sounds have become after an entire day on the job at a construction site. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other noises. You don’t know if you should come in and see us or how ringing in your ears could even be managed.
The treatment 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 certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus therapy.
What kind of tinnitus do you have?
Tinnitus is extremely common. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a variety of root issues. That’s why tinnitus is often divided into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical problem, like an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Medical providers will typically attempt to treat the root problem as their first priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is caused by hearing damage or hearing impairment is usually known as “non-medical” tinnitus. Severe, persistent, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage caused by long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). It’s usually very difficult to treat non-medical tinnitus.
The best way to manage your symptoms will be determined by the underlying cause of your hearing issue and the type of tinnitus you have.
Treating medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will typically go away when the underlying medical issue is addressed. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is related to an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Once the infection goes away, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
- 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.
- Hydrocortisone: Some kinds of infections will not respond to antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these cases to manage other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is caused by a medical issue, you’ll want to see us to receive individualized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently much harder to diagnose and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure especially if it’s related to hearing impairment. Treatments, instead center around alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for treating tinnitus. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help decrease tinnitus symptoms. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to speak with us.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can obtain training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly utilized strategy designed to help you reach just that.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices mask your tinnitus sounds by producing enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. These devices can be calibrated to generate certain sounds created to balance out your tinnitus symptoms.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing gets worse. When you are dealing with hearing loss everything outside becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. When you use a hearing aid it raises the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
Find what works
For the majority of us, it won’t be completely clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to attempt numerous strategies in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. Depending on the source of your buzzing or ringing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But numerous different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.