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” kind of things. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve realized just how noisy (and how relentless) that buzzing has become. At times, 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 management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will vary from person to person and depend substantially on the origin of your hearing problems. But there are certain common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus therapy.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is incredibly common. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of sounds) in your ear can be caused by various underlying problems. So when it comes to treatment, tinnitus is normally divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Inherent medical issues, including ear infections, too much earwax, a growth, or other medical problems, can be the cause of tinnitus. Treating the root medical issue will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is usually 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 constant, 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 issue and the kind of tinnitus you have.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will normally improve when the underlying medical problem is treated. Here are a few treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to perform surgery to remove any tumor or growth that might be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- 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: Not all infections can be addressed with antibiotics. For instance, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these cases to manage other symptoms.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to come see us so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are often a lot harder to detect and manage than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There’s normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in cases where the tinnitus is a result of hearing damage). Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices mask your tinnitus sounds by generating enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. Certain sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is generating.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing worsens. When you have hearing impairment everything externally becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by amping up the volume of everything else.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some circumstances, you can be trained to ignore the noises of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely utilized method designed to help you reach just that.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for dealing with tinnitus. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication mixtures can sometimes help decrease tinnitus symptoms. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to speak with us.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll have to attempt numerous approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are many treatments available. The trick is finding the one that works for you.