The ringing in your ear keeps worsening. It started off quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of things. But you’ve observed how loud and constant the tinnitus sounds have become after a full day on the job at a construction site. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other noises. You don’t know if you should contact 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 considerably on the source of your hearing issues. But there are some common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus therapy.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is extremely common. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of sounds) in your ear can be caused by a variety of root issues. So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is usually divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical issue, like an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Dealing with the root medical issue will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally reserved for tinnitus caused by hearing damage or hearing impairment. Severe, constant, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage caused by long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). It’s normally very challenging to manage non-medical tinnitus.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing affliction, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is a result of an underlying medical ailment, it’s likely that managing your original illness or disorder will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Surgery: Doctors may decide to do surgery to remove any tumor or growth that might be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- Hydrocortisone: Some kinds of infections will not respond to antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic treatments. In these cases, your doctor might prescribe hydrocortisone to help you manage other symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might 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 customize a tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are often much more difficult to identify and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure particularly if it’s related to hearing loss. Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Noise-masking devices: Sometimes called “white noise machines,” these devices are designed to provide enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing caused by your tinnitus. Certain sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is producing.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for treating tinnitus. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication mixtures can sometimes help decrease tinnitus symptoms. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to speak with us.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can get training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. This widely used method has helped many individuals do just that.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more dominant as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid may help you control the symptoms of both ailments. The tinnitus symptoms probably seem louder because everything else becomes quieter (because of hearing loss). When you use a hearing aid it boosts the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to attempt numerous approaches in order to successfully treat your own hearing problems. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are numerous treatments available. Finding the best one for you is the trick.