The buzzing in your ear keeps getting worse. It began quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of situations. But after spending all day at the construction site (for work), you’ve noticed just how loud (and how relentless) that buzzing has become. These noises can take many forms, like ringing, buzzing, or any number of sounds. You’re thinking about coming in to see us, but you’re not sure: how is ringing in the ears treated?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will vary from person to person and depend significantly 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.
There are a couple of different kinds of tinnitus
Tinnitus is extremely common. There can be a number of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus sounds you’re hearing). So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is normally divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical issue, like an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Medical professionals will typically attempt to treat the root problem as their primary priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally saved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing impairment. Severe, persistent, 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 manage.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing ailment, will determine the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is related to an underlying medical ailment, it’s likely that managing your initial illness or ailment will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Antibiotics: Your doctor may prescribe you with antibiotics if your tinnitus is related to a bacterial ear infection. Once the infection goes away, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
- Hydrocortisone: Some kinds of infections will not react to antibiotics. For instance, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these cases to manage other symptoms.
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to do surgery to get rid of any tumor or growth that might be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to come see us so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re dealing with medical tinnitus.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently a lot harder to identify and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There is normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in cases where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead focus on alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing gets worse. The tinnitus symptoms probably seem louder because everything else gets quieter (due to hearing loss). When you use a hearing aid it raises the volume of the external world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- 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. Specific sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is creating.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some situations, you can be trained to ignore the sounds of your tinnitus. This widely used strategy has helped many people do just that.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes treated with experimental medication. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be decreased by combinations of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to talk to us.
Find what works
In order to effectively treat your hearing problems you will probably need to try out several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus most likely won’t be clear. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are various treatments available. Finding the right one for you is the trick.