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 after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve realized just how noisy (and how relentless) that buzzing has become. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is ringing in the ears treated?
The origin of your tinnitus symptoms will significantly determine what approach will be most appropriate for you. But your own tinnitus treatment will share some common threads with others that can help you get prepared.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is incredibly common. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of sounds) in your ear can be caused by a variety of underlying problems. That’s why tinnitus is often divided into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical problem, such as an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Treating the underlying medical problem will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is usually saved for tinnitus caused by hearing damage or hearing loss. 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 difficult to treat non-medical tinnitus.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing ailment, will determine the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is a result of an underlying medical ailment, it’s likely that managing your initial illness or ailment will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to perform surgery to remove any tumor or growth that might be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will probably go-away when the infection clears up.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to come see us so we customize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re dealing with medical tinnitus.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently a lot more difficult to diagnose and manage than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There’s normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in cases where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead highlight treating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus turns out to be more dominant as your hearing wanes, a hearing aid may help you manage the symptoms of both conditions. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else gets quieter (because of hearing impairment). A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by amping up the volume of everything else.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some situations, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. This widely used strategy has helped many people do just that.
- Noise-masking devices: Often called “white noise machines,” these devices are created to provide enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing due to your tinnitus. Certain sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is generating.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for dealing with tinnitus. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by mixtures of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. However, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
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 have to attempt several approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there might not be a cure for your tinnitus. But numerous different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.