The buzzing in your ear keeps worsening. At first, you could hardly hear it. But you’ve noticed how loud and constant the tinnitus noises have become after an entire day on the job at a construction site. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other noises. You don’t know if you should come in and see us or how ringing in your ears could even be addressed.
The source of your tinnitus symptoms will greatly determine what treatment will be most suitable for you. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus treatment.
What kind of tinnitus do you have?
Tinnitus is very common. There can be a number of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). So when it comes to treatment, tinnitus is often divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Inherent medical problems, including ear infections, excessive earwax, a growth, or other medical problems, can be the cause of tinnitus. Treating the underlying medical issue will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally saved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing impairment. Over time, exposure to damaging noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, significant, and chronic tinnitus. It’s usually very challenging to treat non-medical tinnitus.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing ailment, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will usually go away when the underlying medical issue is treated. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is caused by a tumor or other growth, doctors may perform surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
- Antibiotics: Your doctor may prescribe you with antibiotics if your tinnitus is related to a bacterial ear infection. Once the infection clears up, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
- Hydrocortisone: Certain types of infections will not respond to antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. In these situations, your doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone to help you manage other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is related to a medical problem, you’ll want to see us to receive individualized treatment options.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
In general, medical tinnitus is a lot easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There’s usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in situations where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead center around alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some circumstances, you can be trained to ignore the noises of your tinnitus. This commonly used strategy has helped lots of people do just that.
- 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 noises your tinnitus is producing.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus turns out to be more dominant as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid may help you manage the symptoms of both conditions. The tinnitus symptoms probably seem louder because everything else gets quieter (because of hearing loss). When you utilize a hearing aid it boosts the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Medications: Tinnitus is in some cases managed with experimental medication. 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.
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 have to try 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 many different treatments are available that could lessen the symptoms. Finding the right one for you is the trick.