The buzzing in your ear keeps worsening. At first, you could barely notice it. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve noticed just how noisy (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. These noises 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 ringing in the ears treated?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will vary from person to person and depend greatly on the origin of your hearing issues. But there are some common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus treatment.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not uncommon. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by various root problems. So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is normally split into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Inherent medical issues, including ear infections, excessive earwax, a growth, or other medical problems, can be the cause of tinnitus. Managing the underlying medical problem will usually be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is usually saved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing impairment. Significant, constant, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage related to long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). Non-medical tinnitus is usually more difficult to treat.
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 caused by a root medical condition, it’s likely that treating your initial illness or ailment will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Treatments for medical tinnitus could include:
- Hydrocortisone: Some types of infections will not respond to antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these situations to treat other symptoms.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is a result of a tumor or other growth, doctors could do surgery to remove the mass that’s causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life.
- Antibiotics: Your doctor might prescribe you with antibiotics if your tinnitus is caused by a bacterial ear infection. Once the infection goes away, it’s likely that your hearing will return to normal.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to come see us so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are often a lot harder to diagnose and manage than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There is usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in cases where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Noise-masking devices: Sometimes called “white noise machines,” these devices are created to provide enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the buzzing or ringing brought on by your tinnitus. Specific sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is creating.
- Medications: Tinnitus is in some cases managed with experimental medication. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help minimize tinnitus symptoms. However, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some circumstances, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly utilized method created to help you reach just that.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing worsens. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else gets quieter (because of hearing impairment). A hearing aid can help hide the sound of your tinnitus by amping up the volume of everything else.
Find what works
For the majority of us, it won’t be completely clear what’s triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to attempt several strategies in order to successfully treat your own hearing problems. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there might not be a cure for your tinnitus. But many different treatment options are available that could decrease the symptoms. The trick is finding the one that works for you.