The buzzing in your ear keeps getting worse. It started off quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” kind of things. But after spending all day at the construction site (for work), you’ve realized just how noisy (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. At times, it sounds like ringing or other noises. You’re thinking about coming in to see us, but you’re not sure: how is ringing in the ears treated?
The source of your tinnitus symptoms will substantially determine what approach will be most appropriate for you. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus treatment.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not uncommon. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of sounds) in your ear can be caused by a number of underlying problems. That’s why tinnitus is usually divided into two categories in terms of treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical problem, such as an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Medical professionals will typically attempt to treat the root problem as their main priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally saved for tinnitus caused by hearing damage or hearing loss. 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). It’s normally very challenging to manage non-medical tinnitus.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing ailment, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is a result of an underlying medical condition, it’s likely that treating your original illness or ailment will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Here are a few treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is a result of an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will probably disappear when the infection clears.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is a result of 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: Certain kinds of infections will not respond to antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic treatments. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is a result of a medical issue, you’ll want to contact us to get individualized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatments
In general, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and treat than non-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.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing gets worse. The tinnitus symptoms probably seem louder because everything else becomes quieter (due to hearing impairment). A hearing aid can help hide the sound of your tinnitus by raising the volume of everything else.
- 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 tuned to produce specific sounds designed to balance out your tinnitus symptoms.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can get training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly used strategy designed to help you reach just that.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for treating tinnitus. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication mixtures can sometimes help reduce tinnitus symptoms. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to talk to us.
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 approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But many different treatment options are available that could lessen the symptoms. Finding the best one for you is the trick.