You have a ringing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. It started off quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” kind of situations. But you’ve observed how loud and constant the tinnitus noises have become after a full day on the job at a construction site. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re not sure: how is ringing in the ears addressed?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will differ from person to person and depend substantially on the source of your hearing problems. But there are some common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus therapy.
What kind of tinnitus are you experiencing?
Tinnitus is not unusual. There can be a variety of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is often divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical problem, such as an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Treating the root medical problem will usually be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally saved for tinnitus caused by hearing damage or hearing loss. Significant, persistent, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage caused by long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). Non-medical tinnitus is usually more challenging to manage.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing affliction, will establish the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is related to a root medical condition, it’s likely that treating your original illness or ailment will relieve the ringing in your ears. Treatments for medical tinnitus could include:
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to perform surgery to remove any tumor or growth that could 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. Once the infection clears up, 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. In these cases, your doctor might prescribe hydrocortisone to help you manage other symptoms.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to come see us so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you’re dealing with medical tinnitus.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
Usually, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and treat than non-medical tinnitus. There is normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in cases where the tinnitus is a result of hearing damage). Treatments, instead highlight treating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Noise-masking devices: Often called “white noise machines,” these devices are made to provide enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the buzzing or ringing due to your tinnitus. These devices can be tuned to produce certain sounds created to balance out your tinnitus symptoms.
- 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. Still, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing worsens. When you have hearing impairment everything outside gets quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. When you use a hearing aid it boosts the volume of the external world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can get training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. This frequently utilized method has helped lots of individuals do just that.
Find what works
For the majority of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to attempt numerous approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing issues. Depending on the source of your buzzing or ringing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But many different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.