The buzzing in your ear keeps 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 relentless) that buzzing has become. At times, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You’re thinking about coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is ringing in the ears managed?
The origin of your tinnitus symptoms will significantly determine what treatment will be most appropriate for you. But there are certain common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus treatment.
There are a couple of different kinds of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not uncommon. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a variety of root issues. So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is usually split into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Underlying medical issues, including ear infections, too much earwax, a growth, or other medical issues, can be the cause of tinnitus. Dealing with the underlying medical issue will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is related to hearing damage or hearing impairment is usually known as “non-medical” tinnitus. Significant, persistent, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage caused by long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). Non-medical tinnitus is often more challenging to treat.
The best way to treat your symptoms will be determined by the root cause of your hearing problem and the type of tinnitus you have.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is a result of a root medical ailment, it’s likely that managing your original illness or disorder will relieve the ringing in your ears. Treatments for medical tinnitus could include:
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to do surgery to eliminate any tumor or growth that could be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is related to an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will probably go-away when the infection clears.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be addressed with antibiotics. For instance, antibiotics never work on viral infections. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is caused by a medical problem, you’ll want to see us to get personalized treatment options.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
Typically, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure particularly if it’s related to hearing loss. Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes managed with experimental medication. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by mixtures of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to talk to us.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some cases, you can be trained to ignore the noises of your tinnitus. This commonly used strategy has helped many individuals do 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. Certain sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is producing.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more prominent as your hearing wanes, a hearing aid could help you control the symptoms of both ailments. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else gets quieter (due to hearing impairment). When you use a hearing aid it raises the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
Find what works
In order to effectively treat your hearing issues you will probably need to try out several approaches as the exact cause of your tinnitus most likely won’t be obvious. Depending on the source of your buzzing or ringing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But there are numerous treatments available. The trick is finding the one that works for you.