The buzzing in your ear keeps getting worse. At first, you could barely notice it. But you’ve observed how loud and constant the tinnitus noises have become after an entire day on the job at a construction site. These noises can take many forms, such as 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 treated.
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will vary from person to person and depend significantly on the origin of your hearing problems. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus therapy.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not unusual. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a variety of root issues. So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is often split into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical issue, like an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Medical providers will usually attempt to treat the root issue as their first priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is related to hearing damage or hearing loss is typically known as “non-medical” tinnitus. As time passes, exposure to damaging noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause persistent, severe, and chronic tinnitus. It’s normally very difficult to treat non-medical tinnitus.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing condition, will determine the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is caused by a root medical condition, it’s likely that managing your initial illness or disorder will relieve the ringing in your ears. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to perform surgery to get rid of any tumor or growth that might be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is a result of an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will most likely go away when the infection clears.
- Hydrocortisone: Some types of infections will not react to antibiotics. For instance, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these cases to manage other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is related to a medical issue, you’ll want to see us to get individualized treatment options.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
Typically, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There is normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in cases where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead highlight treating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Noise-masking devices: Often referred to as “white noise machines,” these devices are made to provide enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing brought on by your tinnitus. Specific sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is creating.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for dealing with tinnitus. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be decreased by mixtures of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. However, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing worsens. When you have hearing loss everything outside becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus sounds 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 cases, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. This frequently used method has helped lots of people do just that.
Find what works
For the majority of us, it won’t be completely clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to attempt several approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing issues. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there might not be a cure for your tinnitus. But there are numerous treatments available. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.