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 spending all day at the construction site (for work), you’ve realized just how noisy (and how relentless) that buzzing has become. These noises can take many forms, such as ringing, buzzing, or any number of noises. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re not sure: how is buzzing in the ears managed?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will vary from person to person and depend significantly on the origin of your hearing problems. But your own tinnitus therapy will share some common threads with others that can help you get ready.
There are a couple of different kinds of tinnitus
Tinnitus is extremely common. There can be a variety of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is often divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical issue, such as an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Dealing with the underlying medical issue will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is triggered by hearing damage or hearing loss is typically referred to as “non-medical” tinnitus. Significant, constant, 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 usually more difficult to treat.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing condition, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is a result of an underlying medical condition, it’s likely that treating your original illness or disorder will relieve the ringing in your ears. Here are a few treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will most likely disappear when the infection clears.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is related to a tumor or other growth, doctors could do surgery to remove the mass that’s causing your tinnitus, especially if your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic solutions. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is a result of 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 manage than non-medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure particularly if it’s caused by hearing impairment. Treatments, instead highlight alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing gets worse. When you have hearing loss everything outside becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus sounds seem louder. When you use a hearing aid it boosts the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can obtain training that will help you learn to disregard your tinnitus sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly used method designed to help you achieve 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 sounds your tinnitus is producing.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for dealing with tinnitus. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by combinations of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. However, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
Find what works
In order to successfully treat your hearing issues you will probably need to explore several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus most likely won’t be clear. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there might not be a cure for your tinnitus. But there are numerous treatments available. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.