The ringing in your ear keeps worsening. It began quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of situations. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve realized just how loud (and how relentless) that buzzing has become. Sometimes, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You’re considering coming in to see us, but you’re wondering: how is ringing in the ears treated?
The origin of your tinnitus symptoms will substantially determine what treatment will be right for you. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus treatment.
There are a couple of different kinds of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not uncommon. There can be a number of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus noises you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is usually split into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Inherent medical issues, including ear infections, too much earwax, a growth, or other medical issues, can be the cause of tinnitus. Medical providers will usually attempt to treat the root issue as their primary priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally reserved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing impairment. 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 usually more challenging to manage.
The best way to treat your symptoms will be determined by the root cause of your hearing issue and the kind of tinnitus you have.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will typically improve when the root medical problem is addressed. Here are some treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Antibiotics: If your tinnitus is a result of 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.
- Surgery: Doctors might decide to do surgery to get rid of any tumor or growth that might be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be addressed with antibiotics. Viral infections, for example, never respond to antibiotic treatments. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these situations to manage other symptoms.
If your tinnitus is caused by a medical issue, you’ll want to see us to receive personalized treatment options.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
In general, medical tinnitus is much easier to diagnose and treat than non-medical tinnitus. There’s normally no cure for non-medical tinnitus (especially in situations where the tinnitus is caused by hearing damage). Treatments, instead focus on treating symptoms and improving the quality of life.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices hide your tinnitus sounds by generating enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. Certain sounds can be tuned into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is generating.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can get training that will help you learn to disregard your tinnitus sounds. This widely used strategy has helped lots of individuals do 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 ailments. The tinnitus symptoms will likely seem louder because everything else becomes quieter (because of hearing loss). When you use a hearing aid it raises the volume of the external world making your tinnitus sounds seem quieter.
- Medications: Tinnitus is sometimes treated with experimental medication. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication combinations can sometimes help minimize tinnitus symptoms. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to talk to us.
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 attempt numerous approaches in order to effectively treat your own hearing problems. In most situations, tinnitus can’t be cured. But numerous different treatments are available that could reduce the symptoms. The trick is identifying the one that works for you.