You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. At first, you could hardly hear it. But you’ve observed how loud and persistent the tinnitus noises have become after an entire day on the job at a construction site. At times, it sounds like ringing or other noises. You don’t know if you should contact us or how ringing in your ears could even be treated.
The treatment of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will differ from person to person and depend substantially on the origin of your hearing problems. But your own tinnitus therapy will share some common threads with others that can help you get ready.
What type of tinnitus are you experiencing?
Tinnitus is very common. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of sounds) in your ear can be caused by various underlying problems. That’s why tinnitus is usually split into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical problem, like an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Medical providers will usually attempt 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. Severe, constant, 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 often more challenging to manage.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing affliction, will determine the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will typically clear up when the root medical issue is addressed. 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 decreasing your quality of life.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is related to an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Once the infection goes away, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
- Hydrocortisone: Certain types of infections will not respond to antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these situations to treat other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is caused by a medical problem, you’ll want to contact us to receive personalized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatments
In general, medical tinnitus is a lot easier to diagnose and treat than non-medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure especially if it’s caused by hearing impairment. Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for dealing with tinnitus. For instance, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Still, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some circumstances, you can be trained to ignore the sounds of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely used strategy created to help you reach just that.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus turns out to be more dominant as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid may help you control the symptoms of both conditions. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else becomes quieter (because of hearing loss). When you utilize a hearing aid it raises the volume of the outside world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Noise-masking devices: Sometimes referred to as “white noise machines,” these devices are designed to supply enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing due to your tinnitus. Specific sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is producing.
Find what works
In order to successfully treat your hearing problems you will most likely need to explore several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus probably won’t be obvious. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there might not be a cure for your tinnitus. But there are numerous treatments available. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.