You have a ringing in your ears and it’s not improving, if anything it’s getting worse. It began quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of things. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve realized just how loud (and how relentless) that buzzing has become. At times, 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 substantially determine what treatment will be right for you. But your own tinnitus therapy will share some common threads with others that can help you get ready.
What type of tinnitus are you experiencing?
Tinnitus is extremely common. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a variety of underlying issues. That’s why tinnitus is normally divided into two categories in terms of treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical problem, like an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Treating the root medical problem will usually be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is related to hearing damage or hearing loss is usually referred to as “non-medical” tinnitus. Over time, exposure to harmful noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, severe, and chronic tinnitus. It’s normally very challenging to treat non-medical tinnitus.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing condition, 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 initial illness or disorder will relieve the ringing in your ears. Here are a few treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Hydrocortisone: Some types of infections will not respond to antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic treatments. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these cases to treat other symptoms.
- 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 return to normal.
- Surgery: Doctors may decide to perform surgery to get rid of any tumor or growth that could be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
If your tinnitus is related to a medical issue, you’ll want to see us to receive personalized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatments
Usually, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There is normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (particularly in situations where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead focus on relieving symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some circumstances, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly used strategy created to help you reach just that.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing gets worse. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else becomes quieter (due to hearing impairment). When you use a hearing aid it raises the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices mask your tinnitus noises by creating enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. Certain sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is producing.
- Medications: Tinnitus is in some cases managed with experimental medication. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be decreased by combinations of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to speak with us.
Find what works
In order to successfully treat your hearing problems you will most likely need to explore several approaches as the exact cause of your tinnitus probably won’t be obvious. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are various treatments available. Finding the right one for you is the trick.