You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. It began quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” kind 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. At times, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You don’t know if you should contact us or how ringing in your ears could even be treated.
The origin of your tinnitus symptoms will greatly determine what approach will be most appropriate for you. But your own tinnitus treatment will share some common threads with others that can help you get prepared.
What type of tinnitus are you experiencing?
Tinnitus is not unusual. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a number of 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 inherent medical problem, like an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Medical providers will typically attempt to treat the root issue as their main priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally reserved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing loss. Severe, constant, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage related to long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). It’s usually very difficult to manage non-medical tinnitus.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing ailment, will determine the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will typically clear up when the underlying medical problem is addressed. Here are a few treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control other symptoms.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is triggered by a tumor or other growth, doctors may perform surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, especially if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will probably go away when the infection clears up.
You’ll want to make an appointment to come see us so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently much more difficult to detect and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There’s usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in cases where the tinnitus is a result of hearing damage). Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some circumstances, you can be trained to ignore the sounds of your tinnitus. This frequently utilized strategy has helped many individuals do just that.
- 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. These devices can be calibrated to generate certain sounds designed to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus turns out to be more dominant as your hearing wanes, a hearing aid may help you manage the symptoms of both conditions. When you are dealing with hearing loss everything outside gets 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.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for dealing with tinnitus. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by mixtures of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. Still, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
Find what works
In order to effectively treat your hearing problems you will probably need to try out several approaches as the exact cause of your tinnitus probably won’t be clear. Depending on the source of your buzzing or ringing, there might not be a cure for your tinnitus. But many different treatment options are available that could lessen the symptoms. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.