You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. At first, you could hardly hear it. But you’ve noticed how loud and constant the tinnitus noises have become after an entire day on the job at a construction site. These sounds can take many forms, like ringing, buzzing, or any number of noises. You’re thinking about coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is buzzing in the ears addressed?
The treatment of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will vary from person to person and depend significantly on the source of your hearing issues. But there are certain common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus treatment.
What type of tinnitus are you experiencing?
Tinnitus is very common. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a number of root issues. So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is normally divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Inherent medical problems, including ear infections, too much earwax, a growth, or other medical issues, can be the cause of tinnitus. Medical providers will typically attempt to treat the root problem as their primary priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is triggered by hearing damage or hearing loss is typically known as “non-medical” tinnitus. As time passes, exposure to harmful noise (such as the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, significant, and chronic tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus is often more difficult to treat.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing ailment, will determine the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will typically clear up when the underlying medical problem is treated. Treatments for medical tinnitus could include:
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is related to 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.
- Hydrocortisone: Certain kinds of infections will not respond to antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic treatments. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these situations to treat other symptoms.
- Surgery: Doctors may decide to do surgery to eliminate any tumor or growth that could be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to get a consultation so we customize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
In general, medical tinnitus is a lot easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There is usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in situations where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some cases, you can be trained to ignore the sounds of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely utilized method designed to help you reach just that.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes managed with experimental medication. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by mixtures of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. However, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
- Noise-masking devices: Often referred to as “white noise machines,” these devices are designed to supply enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the buzzing or ringing due to your tinnitus. Specific sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is creating.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more prominent as your hearing wanes, a hearing aid may help you control the symptoms of both conditions. When you have hearing impairment everything externally becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. When you utilize a hearing aid it boosts the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be completely clear what’s triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll have to attempt multiple approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But numerous different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.