You have a ringing in your ears and it’s not getting any better, if anything it’s getting worse. At first, you could hardly notice it. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve realized just how noisy (and how persistent) that buzzing has become. These sounds 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 wondering: how is buzzing in the ears addressed?
The management of tinnitus (that’s what that buzzing is called) will differ from person to person and depend substantially on the source of your hearing issues. But your own tinnitus treatment will share some common threads with others that can help you get ready.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is very common. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of sounds) in your ear can be caused by a variety of underlying issues. That’s why tinnitus is often split into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an inherent medical problem, like an ear infection, too much earwax, or a growth, among other conditions. Medical providers will usually attempt to treat the underlying problem as their primary 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 related to long term exposure to loud noise (like at your construction site). It’s usually very challenging to manage non-medical tinnitus.
The best way to treat 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
If your tinnitus is a result of an underlying medical condition, it’s likely that managing your original illness or ailment will relieve the ringing in your ears. Here are a few treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is caused by a tumor or other growth, doctors may do surgery to remove the mass that is causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are decreasing your quality of life.
- Hydrocortisone: Some kinds of infections will not react to antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic treatments. In these situations, your doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control other symptoms.
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is a result of 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.
If your tinnitus is a result of a medical issue, you’ll want to see us to get individualized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
Usually, medical tinnitus is a lot easier to diagnose and treat than non-medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure particularly if it’s related to hearing loss. Instead, treatment to improve quality of life by alleviating symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing gets worse. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else gets quieter (because of hearing loss). When you use a hearing aid it raises the volume of the external world making your tinnitus noises seem quieter.
- Medications: Tinnitus is in some cases treated with experimental medication. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help reduce tinnitus symptoms. Still, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
- Noise-masking devices: Sometimes called “white noise machines,” these devices are made to provide enough sound to decrease your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing caused by your tinnitus. These devices can be attenuated to produce specific sounds designed to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some cases, you can be trained to ignore the sounds of your tinnitus. This frequently used strategy has helped many individuals do just that.
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 most likely won’t be clear. Depending on the source of your buzzing or ringing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But many different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.