You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. It began quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” kind of situations. But after spending all day at the construction site (for work), you’ve realized just how loud (and how relentless) that buzzing has become. At times, it sounds like ringing or other noises. You don’t know if you should contact us or how ringing in your ears could even be treated.
The origin of your tinnitus symptoms will significantly establish what treatment will be most appropriate for you. But there are certain common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus therapy.
What type of tinnitus do you have?
Tinnitus is not unusual. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a number of underlying issues. So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is usually divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical problem, like an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Dealing with the underlying medical issue will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is usually reserved for tinnitus caused by hearing damage or hearing loss. Significant, persistent, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage related to 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 treat your symptoms will be determined by the underlying cause of your hearing problem and the type of tinnitus you’re experiencing.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will normally go away when the underlying medical problem is addressed. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Hydrocortisone: Some kinds of infections will not respond to antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic solutions. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control other symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is related to an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Once the infection clears up, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
- Surgery: Doctors may decide to perform surgery to eliminate any tumor or growth that might be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
If your tinnitus is related to 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 identify and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure especially if it’s related to hearing impairment. Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some situations, you can be trained to ignore the sounds of your tinnitus. This commonly utilized strategy has helped many individuals do just that.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices mask your tinnitus noises by generating enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. Specific sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is producing.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing gets worse. The tinnitus symptoms probably seem louder because everything else gets quieter (due to hearing impairment). When you use a hearing aid it boosts the volume of the external world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for treating tinnitus. For instance, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help reduce tinnitus symptoms. However, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to try numerous strategies in order to successfully treat your own hearing problems. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there might not be a cure for your tinnitus. But many different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is finding the one that works for you.