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” sort of things. But you’ve noticed how loud and constant the tinnitus sounds have become after a full day on the job at a construction site. These sounds can take many forms, such as ringing, buzzing, or any number of sounds. You don’t know if you should come in and see us or how ringing in your ears could even be managed.
The treatment of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will vary from person to person and depend substantially on the origin of your hearing problems. But there are certain common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus therapy.
What type of tinnitus do you have?
Tinnitus is not uncommon. There can be a variety of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus sounds you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is normally split into two categories in terms of treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Underlying medical issues, including ear infections, too much earwax, a growth, or other medical problems, can be the cause of tinnitus. Treating the underlying medical problem 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 harmful noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause persistent, severe, and chronic tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus is usually more challenging to manage.
The best way to treat your symptoms will be determined by the root cause of your hearing issue and the kind of tinnitus you’re experiencing.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is related to a root medical ailment, it’s likely that treating your original illness or disorder will relieve the ringing in your ears. Here are a few treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Hydrocortisone: Certain kinds of infections will not react to antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these cases to treat other symptoms.
- Antibiotics: Your doctor might 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.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is triggered by a tumor or other growth, doctors could do surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to come see us so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re dealing with medical tinnitus.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
In general, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and treat than non-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 improve quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes managed with experimental medication. For instance, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help reduce tinnitus symptoms. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to speak with us.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some situations, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly utilized strategy created to help you reach just that.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more prominent as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid could help you manage the symptoms of both conditions. When you are dealing with hearing impairment everything outside becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus sounds seem louder. A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by raising the volume of everything else.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices hide your tinnitus noises by generating enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. These devices can be calibrated to generate specific sounds created to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll have to try multiple strategies in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are various treatments available. Finding the best one for you is the trick.