The buzzing in your ear keeps worsening. At first, you could hardly hear it. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve realized just how loud (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. At times, 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 treated.
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will vary from person to person and depend considerably on the origin of your hearing problems. But your own tinnitus treatment will share some common threads with others that can help you get prepared.
What type of tinnitus do you have?
Tinnitus is very common. There can be numerous causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is often divided into two categories in terms of treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical problem, like an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Dealing with the underlying medical problem will usually be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is related to hearing damage or hearing impairment is usually referred to 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 challenging to manage non-medical tinnitus.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing affliction, will determine the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will normally clear up when the root medical problem is addressed. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is triggered by a tumor or other growth, doctors could do surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
- Antibiotics: Your doctor may prescribe you with antibiotics if your tinnitus is related to a bacterial ear infection. Your tinnitus symptoms will most likely go away when the infection clears up.
- Hydrocortisone: Certain types of infections will not react to antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is caused by a medical problem, you’ll want to contact us to get personalized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatments
Usually, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and treat than non-medical tinnitus. There’s normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in situations where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead focus on relieving symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices mask your tinnitus sounds by creating 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 offset your tinnitus symptoms.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for treating tinnitus. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by combinations of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. However, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more dominant as your hearing wanes, a hearing aid may help you manage the symptoms of both ailments. When you have hearing impairment everything outside gets quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by raising the volume of everything else.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some instances, you can be trained to ignore the noises of your tinnitus. This commonly utilized method has helped many individuals do just that.
Find what works
For the majority of us, it won’t be completely clear what’s triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to try multiple strategies in order to successfully treat your own hearing problems. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But numerous different treatment options are available that could decrease the symptoms. The trick is finding the one that works for you.