The ringing in your ear keeps getting worse. At first, you could barely notice it. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve noticed just how loud (and how relentless) that buzzing has become. These noises can take many forms, such as ringing, buzzing, or any number of noises. You’re thinking about coming in to see us, but you’re not sure: how is ringing in the ears addressed?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will differ 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 prepared.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not uncommon. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a number of root issues. So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is normally split into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical issue, like an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Medical professionals will usually try to treat the underlying issue as their primary priority.
- 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 difficult to treat.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing condition, will determine the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is caused by a root medical ailment, it’s likely that treating your original illness or ailment will alleviate the ringing in your ears. 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, especially if your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be addressed with antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. In these cases, your doctor might prescribe hydrocortisone to help you manage other symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is related to an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Once the infection clears up, it’s likely that your hearing will return to normal.
If your tinnitus is related to a medical problem, you’ll want to contact us to get individualized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently a lot harder to diagnose and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There’s usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in situations where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Noise-masking devices: Often called “white noise machines,” these devices are created to provide enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the buzzing or ringing caused by your tinnitus. Specific sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is creating.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing worsens. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else gets quieter (due to hearing impairment). A hearing aid can help hide the sound of your tinnitus by raising the volume of everything else.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes managed with experimental medication. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help reduce tinnitus symptoms. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to talk to us.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some situations, you can be trained to ignore the noises of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely utilized method created to help you achieve just that.
Find what works
In order to effectively treat your hearing issues you will most likely need to try out several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus probably won’t be obvious. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are various treatments available. Finding the right one for you is the trick.