The ringing in your ear keeps 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 noticed just how noisy (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You’re thinking about coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is ringing in the ears managed?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will differ from person to person and depend considerably on the source of your hearing issues. But your own tinnitus therapy will share some common threads with others that can help you get prepared.
What type of tinnitus do you have?
Tinnitus is extremely common. There can be a number of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus sounds you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is usually divided into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Inherent medical issues, including ear infections, too much earwax, a growth, or other medical problems, can be the cause of tinnitus. Medical providers will typically attempt to treat the root issue as their main priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is caused by hearing damage or hearing impairment is usually known as “non-medical” tinnitus. As time passes, exposure to damaging noise (such as the noise at your construction site) can cause persistent, severe, and chronic tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus is often more difficult to manage.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing ailment, will establish the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is a result of a root medical condition, it’s likely that managing your initial illness or ailment will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is a result of a tumor or other growth, doctors could perform surgery to remove the mass that’s causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will most likely go away when the infection clears up.
- Hydrocortisone: Some kinds of infections will not respond to antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is a result of a medical issue, you’ll want to see us to receive personalized treatment options.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
Usually, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There is normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in situations where the tinnitus is a result of hearing damage). Instead, treatment to improve quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some cases, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly utilized strategy designed to help you reach just that.
- Medications: Tinnitus is in some cases 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 talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices mask your tinnitus noises by generating enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. These devices can be tuned to generate certain sounds created to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing gets worse. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else becomes quieter (because of hearing loss). When you use a hearing aid it boosts the volume of the external world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
Find what works
In order to effectively treat your hearing issues you will probably need to try out several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus probably won’t be obvious. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are various treatments available. Finding the best one for you is the trick.