The buzzing in your ear keeps worsening. It began quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” kind of things. But you’ve observed how loud and constant the tinnitus noises have become after a full day on the job at a construction site. These noises can take many forms, like ringing, buzzing, or any number of sounds. You don’t know if you should come in and see us or how ringing in your ears could even be addressed.
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will differ from person to person and depend considerably on the source of your hearing problems. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus therapy.
What type of tinnitus are you experiencing?
Tinnitus is incredibly common. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a variety of root issues. So when it comes to 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 ailments. Medical providers will typically try to treat the underlying issue as their first priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally saved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing loss. Over time, exposure to harmful noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, severe, and chronic tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus is often more challenging to treat.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing affliction, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is a result of an underlying medical condition, it’s likely that managing your original illness or disorder will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Once the infection clears up, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
- Surgery: Doctors may decide to perform surgery to eliminate any tumor or growth that might be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- 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.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to get a consultation so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Non-medical tinnitus treatments
Usually, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and treat than non-medical tinnitus. There’s usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in cases where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead highlight alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Noise-masking devices: Often called “white noise machines,” these devices are designed to supply enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing caused by your tinnitus. Specific sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is generating.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing gets worse. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else gets quieter (because of hearing impairment). A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by amping up the volume of everything else.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some situations, you can be trained to disregard the noises of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely utilized method designed to help you achieve just that.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes treated with experimental medication. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by combinations of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. However, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
Find what works
In order to effectively treat your hearing issues you will probably need to explore several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus probably won’t be clear. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are many treatments available. Finding the right one for you is the trick.