You have a buzzing 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” kind of situations. But after spending all day at the construction site (for work), you’ve noticed just how noisy (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. These noises can take many forms, such as ringing, buzzing, or any number of sounds. You’re thinking about coming in to see us, but you’re not sure: how is buzzing in the ears addressed?
The treatment of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will vary from person to person and depend substantially on the source of your hearing problems. But there are some common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus treatment.
What kind of tinnitus are you experiencing?
Tinnitus is incredibly common. There can be a number of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus sounds you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is normally divided 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 professionals will typically attempt to treat the underlying problem as their main priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is triggered by hearing damage or hearing loss is usually known as “non-medical” tinnitus. Significant, constant, and chronic tinnitus can be the outcome of hearing damage related to long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). Non-medical tinnitus is often more challenging to treat.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing ailment, will determine the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will normally clear up when the root medical problem is addressed. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to do surgery to eliminate any tumor or growth that could be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is related to an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will probably go-away when the infection clears up.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be addressed with antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic solutions. In these cases, your doctor might prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control other symptoms.
You’ll want to make an appointment to get a consultation so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re dealing with medical tinnitus.
Non-medical tinnitus treatments
In general, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There is normally 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 alleviating symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing worsens. When you are dealing with hearing impairment everything externally becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. When you use a hearing aid it boosts the volume of the external world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can obtain training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely used method designed to help you achieve just that.
- Noise-masking devices: Often referred to as “white noise machines,” these devices are made to supply enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the buzzing or ringing brought on by your tinnitus. These devices can be attenuated to generate specific sounds designed to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for dealing with tinnitus. For instance, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help minimize tinnitus symptoms. Still, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
Find what works
In order to effectively treat your hearing problems you will most likely need to try out several approaches as the exact cause of your tinnitus most likely won’t be clear. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But many different treatment options are available that could lessen the symptoms. Finding the best one for you is the trick.