You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not improving, if anything it’s getting worse. It started off quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of situations. But you’ve noticed how loud and persistent the tinnitus noises have become after a full 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 managed.
The source of your tinnitus symptoms will greatly establish what treatment will be right for you. But there are some common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus therapy.
What type of tinnitus do you have?
Tinnitus is very common. There can be numerous causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is usually 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. Treating the underlying medical issue will usually be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally reserved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing loss. Significant, persistent, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage caused by long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). Non-medical tinnitus is usually more challenging to treat.
The best way to manage your symptoms will be determined by the root cause of your hearing problem and the type of tinnitus you’re experiencing.
Treating medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is caused by an underlying medical condition, it’s likely that treating your initial illness or ailment will alleviate the ringing in your ears. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is triggered by a tumor or other growth, doctors could do surgery to remove the mass that’s causing your tinnitus, especially if your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life.
- Hydrocortisone: Some kinds of infections will not react to antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic solutions. In these cases, your doctor might prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control other symptoms.
- 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 disappear when the infection clears.
If your tinnitus is a result of a medical problem, you’ll want to see us to receive personalized treatment options.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently much harder to diagnose and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. There’s usually no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in cases where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some situations, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. This widely utilized method has helped many individuals do just that.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices hide your tinnitus sounds by generating enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. These devices can be tuned to generate specific sounds created to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing worsens. The tinnitus symptoms probably seem louder because everything else becomes quieter (due to hearing loss). When you utilize a hearing aid it raises the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes treated with experimental medication. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be decreased by combinations of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to talk to us.
Find what works
For the majority of us, it won’t be completely clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to attempt several strategies in order to effectively treat your own hearing issues. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are various treatments available. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.