You have a ringing in your ears and it’s not improving, if anything it’s getting worse. At first, you could barely hear it. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve realized just how noisy (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other noises. You’re thinking about coming in to see us, but you’re not sure: how is buzzing in the ears managed?
The treatment of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will vary from person to person and depend greatly on the source of your hearing issues. But your own tinnitus therapy will share some common threads with others that can help you get prepared.
What type of tinnitus are you experiencing?
Tinnitus is not unusual. There can be a number of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus sounds you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is normally split into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Underlying medical problems, including ear infections, too much earwax, a growth, or other medical issues, can be the cause of tinnitus. Treating the root medical problem will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally saved for tinnitus caused by hearing damage or hearing loss. Over time, exposure to damaging noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause persistent, severe, and chronic tinnitus. It’s usually very challenging to treat non-medical tinnitus.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing condition, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is a result of an underlying medical ailment, it’s likely that managing your initial illness or disorder will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is caused by a tumor or other growth, doctors may do surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, especially if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
- Hydrocortisone: Certain types of infections will not respond to antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control 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 goes away, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
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.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
Usually, medical tinnitus is a lot easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure particularly if it’s caused by hearing loss. Treatments, instead focus on treating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some instances, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. This commonly utilized strategy has helped many individuals do just that.
- Noise-masking devices: Often called “white noise machines,” these devices are made to provide enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing brought on by your tinnitus. These devices can be calibrated to produce specific sounds created to balance out your tinnitus symptoms.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus turns out to be more prominent as your hearing wanes, a hearing aid could help you control the symptoms of both conditions. When you are dealing with hearing impairment everything externally becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus sounds seem louder. A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by amping up the volume of everything else.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for dealing with tinnitus. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by mixtures of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. 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 triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll have to try numerous approaches in order to successfully treat your own hearing issues. Depending on the source of your buzzing or ringing, there might not be a cure for your tinnitus. But many different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.