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 things. But you’ve noticed how loud and persistent the tinnitus sounds have become after an entire day on the job at a construction site. These noises can take many forms, like 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 addressed?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will differ from person to person and depend greatly on the origin of your hearing problems. But your own tinnitus treatment will share some common threads with others that can help you get ready.
What kind of tinnitus are you experiencing?
Tinnitus is incredibly common. There can be a variety of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). So when it comes to treatment, tinnitus is normally divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical problem, such as an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Treating the underlying medical problem will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is caused by hearing damage or hearing impairment is usually referred to as “non-medical” tinnitus. Significant, constant, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage related to long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). Non-medical tinnitus is often more challenging to treat.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing condition, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will usually go away when the underlying medical problem is treated. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be addressed with antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these cases to 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 go back to normal.
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to perform surgery to eliminate any tumor or growth that could be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
You’ll want to make an appointment to come see us so we customize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
In general, medical tinnitus is a lot easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There is normally 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.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can obtain training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. This widely utilized strategy has helped many individuals do just that.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more dominant as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid may help you manage the symptoms of both ailments. The tinnitus symptoms probably seem louder because everything else gets quieter (due to hearing loss). A hearing aid can help hide the sound of your tinnitus by raising the volume of everything else.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices hide your tinnitus sounds by producing enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. These devices can be attenuated to produce certain sounds created to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for dealing with 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 the majority of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to try multiple approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are various treatments available. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.