You have a ringing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. At first, you could hardly notice it. 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, like ringing, buzzing, or any number of noises. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is ringing in the ears treated?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will differ from person to person and depend greatly on the origin of your hearing problems. 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 not unusual. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a variety of root problems. That’s why tinnitus is often split into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical problem, such as an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Medical providers will usually try to treat the root problem as their first priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is triggered by hearing damage or hearing loss is typically known as “non-medical” tinnitus. Significant, 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 treat non-medical tinnitus.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing condition, will establish the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is related to an underlying medical condition, it’s likely that managing your initial illness or ailment will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Here are a few treatments for medical tinnitus:
- 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.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is related to a tumor or other growth, doctors may perform surgery to remove the mass that’s causing your tinnitus, especially if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be addressed with antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these cases to treat other symptoms.
You’ll want to make an appointment to get a consultation so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you’re dealing with medical tinnitus.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
Typically, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure especially if it’s related to hearing loss. Instead, treatment to improve quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes managed with experimental medication. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by mixtures of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. Still, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus turns out to be more prominent as your hearing wanes, a hearing aid could help you control the symptoms of both conditions. When you have hearing loss everything outside becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. When you utilize a hearing aid it raises the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can obtain training that will help you learn to disregard your tinnitus sounds. This commonly used method has helped lots of individuals do just that.
- Noise-masking devices: Often called “white noise machines,” these devices are created to supply enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the buzzing or ringing due to your tinnitus. Specific sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is creating.
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 attempt numerous strategies in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But there are numerous treatments available. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.