The buzzing in your ear keeps getting worse. It began 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 relentless) that buzzing has become. At times, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is buzzing in the ears managed?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that ringing is called) will differ from person to person and depend significantly on the origin of your hearing issues. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus treatment.
What kind 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). So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is normally split into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical issue, such as an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Managing the underlying medical issue will usually be the priority of your medical professional.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is usually reserved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing impairment. As time passes, exposure to harmful noise (like the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, significant, and chronic tinnitus. It’s usually very difficult to manage non-medical tinnitus.
The type of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing ailment, will determine the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
If your tinnitus is caused by an underlying medical ailment, it’s likely that treating your initial illness or disorder will relieve the ringing in your ears. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone may be prescribed in these cases to manage other symptoms.
- 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.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is caused by an ear infection (that is, a bacterial ear infection), your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Your tinnitus symptoms will most likely disappear when the infection clears up.
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.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
In general, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and manage than non-medical tinnitus. There’s normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in situations where the tinnitus is a result of hearing damage). Treatments, instead focus on relieving symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Medications: Tinnitus is in some cases treated with experimental medication. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be decreased by mixtures of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to talk to us.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more dominant as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid may help you control the symptoms of both conditions. When you have hearing impairment everything externally gets quieter and that can make your tinnitus sounds seem louder. A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by raising the volume of everything else.
- 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. Specific sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is producing.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some instances, you can be trained to ignore the noises of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely used strategy designed to help you achieve just that.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to try numerous approaches in order to successfully treat your own hearing problems. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But numerous different treatment options are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.