The ringing in your ear keeps worsening. It began quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of things. But you’ve noticed how loud and persistent the tinnitus sounds have become after an entire day on the job at a construction site. At times, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You don’t know if you should come in and see us or how ringing in your ears could even be treated.
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will vary from person to person and depend significantly on the origin of your hearing issues. But your own tinnitus therapy will share some common threads with others that can help you get ready.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is very common. There can be a number of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is often split into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Underlying medical problems, including ear infections, excessive earwax, a growth, or other medical issues, can be the cause of tinnitus. Medical providers will typically attempt to treat the root issue as their first priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is related to hearing damage or hearing impairment is typically referred to as “non-medical” tinnitus. Severe, constant, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage related to long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). It’s normally very difficult to manage non-medical tinnitus.
The best way to manage your symptoms will be determined by the underlying cause of your hearing problem and the type of tinnitus you’re experiencing.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will normally improve when the underlying medical problem is treated. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Hydrocortisone: Certain kinds of infections will not react to antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic solutions. In these situations, your doctor might prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control other symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is related to an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Once the infection goes away, it’s likely that your hearing will return to normal.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is a result of a tumor or other growth, doctors may do surgery to remove the mass that’s causing your tinnitus, especially if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
If your tinnitus is a result of a medical issue, you’ll want to see us to get individualized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently a lot more difficult to diagnose and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There is usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in cases where the tinnitus is a result of hearing damage). Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more prominent as your hearing wanes, a hearing aid may help you control the symptoms of both conditions. When you have hearing impairment everything externally becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus sounds seem louder. When you utilize a hearing aid it boosts the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for treating tinnitus. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by combinations of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. Still, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some instances, you can be trained to disregard the noises of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly utilized strategy created to help you achieve 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 caused by your tinnitus. These devices can be tuned to produce specific sounds designed to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
Find what works
In order to effectively treat your hearing issues you will most likely need to explore several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus most likely won’t be obvious. Depending on the source of your buzzing or ringing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But numerous different treatments are available that could lessen the symptoms. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.