You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not improving, 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 constant the tinnitus sounds have become after an entire day on the job at a construction site. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other noises. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is ringing in the ears managed?
The source of your tinnitus symptoms will substantially determine what approach will be most suitable for you. But there are some common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus therapy.
There are a couple of different kinds of tinnitus
Tinnitus is incredibly common. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by various underlying issues. So when it comes to treatment, tinnitus is normally split into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical issue, such as an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Managing the underlying medical issue will usually be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally saved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing 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 manage non-medical tinnitus.
The best way to manage your symptoms will be determined by the underlying cause of your hearing problem and the kind of tinnitus you have.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will usually improve when the root medical issue is treated. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these situations to treat other symptoms.
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to perform surgery to remove any tumor or growth that could be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by 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 return 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.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are often much harder to diagnose and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There’s usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in cases where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead center around treating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for treating tinnitus. For instance, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help reduce tinnitus symptoms. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to speak with us.
- 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 becomes quieter (due to hearing impairment). A hearing aid can help hide the sound of your tinnitus by amping up the volume of everything else.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some circumstances, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. This commonly utilized method has helped many people do 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 tuned into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is generating.
Find what works
In order to successfully treat your hearing problems you will probably need to try out several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus probably won’t be obvious. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But many different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. Finding the right one for you is the trick.