The ringing in your ear keeps getting worse. It started off quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of situations. But you’ve observed how loud and persistent the tinnitus sounds have become after a full day on the job at a construction site. These sounds can take many forms, such as ringing, buzzing, or any number of sounds. You don’t know if you should come in and see us or how ringing in your ears could even be addressed.
The origin of your tinnitus symptoms will significantly determine what approach will be most appropriate for you. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus therapy.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not unusual. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by various underlying problems. That’s why tinnitus is normally split into two categories in terms of treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical problem, such as an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Managing the underlying medical issue will normally be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is usually saved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing impairment. Over time, exposure to damaging noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause persistent, significant, and chronic tinnitus. It’s usually very difficult to treat non-medical tinnitus.
The best way to manage your symptoms will be determined by the underlying cause of your hearing issue and the kind 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:
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is related to an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Once the infection clears up, it’s likely that your hearing will go back to normal.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these cases to treat other symptoms.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is caused by a tumor or other growth, doctors could do surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, especially if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
If your tinnitus is related to a medical issue, you’ll want to contact us to get personalized treatment options.
Managing non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently much more difficult to identify and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure particularly if it’s caused by hearing loss. 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 ignore the noises of your tinnitus. This frequently used strategy has helped many people do just that.
- Medications: Tinnitus is in some cases managed with experimental medication. For instance, steroids and anti-anxiety medication mixtures can sometimes help decrease tinnitus symptoms. Still, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more prominent as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid could help you manage the symptoms of both ailments. When you have hearing loss everything outside gets quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by amping up the volume of everything else.
- Noise-masking devices: Often called “white noise machines,” these devices are designed to provide enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing caused by your tinnitus. Certain sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is producing.
Find what works
In order to successfully treat your hearing issues you will most likely need to try out several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus probably won’t be clear. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there might not be a cure for your tinnitus. But numerous different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.