You have a ringing 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 situations. But after spending all day at the construction site (for work), you’ve noticed just how loud (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. At times, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is buzzing in the ears managed?
The origin of your tinnitus symptoms will substantially establish what approach will be right for you. But your own tinnitus treatment will share some common threads with others that can help you get ready.
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 variety of underlying issues. That’s why tinnitus is normally divided into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Inherent medical problems, including ear infections, excessive earwax, a growth, or other medical issues, can be the cause of tinnitus. Medical providers will typically attempt to treat the underlying issue as their first priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is caused by hearing damage or hearing impairment is typically known as “non-medical” tinnitus. As time passes, exposure to harmful noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, significant, and chronic tinnitus. It’s usually very difficult to manage non-medical tinnitus.
The best way to treat your symptoms will be determined by the underlying cause of your hearing problem and the kind of tinnitus you have.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is related to an underlying medical ailment, it’s likely that managing your original illness or ailment will relieve the ringing in your ears. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is related to a tumor or other growth, doctors may do surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. In these cases, your doctor might prescribe hydrocortisone to help you manage other symptoms.
- Antibiotics: Your doctor might prescribe you with antibiotics if your tinnitus is related to a bacterial ear infection. Your tinnitus symptoms will most likely disappear when the infection clears.
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 treatments
Usually, medical tinnitus is a lot easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There is usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in situations where the tinnitus is a result of hearing damage). Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for treating tinnitus. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication mixtures can sometimes help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Still, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
- Noise-masking devices: Sometimes called “white noise machines,” these devices are designed to supply enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the buzzing or ringing caused by your tinnitus. Certain sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is producing.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing worsens. When you are dealing with hearing impairment everything externally gets quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. When you use a hearing aid it raises the volume of the external world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some instances, you can be trained to disregard the noises of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely used strategy designed to help you achieve just that.
Find what works
In order to successfully treat your hearing issues you will probably need to try out several approaches as the exact cause of your tinnitus most likely won’t be obvious. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But numerous different treatments are available that could decrease the symptoms. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.