The buzzing in your ear keeps getting worse. It started off quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” sort of things. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve realized just how noisy (and how relentless) that buzzing has become. These sounds can take many forms, such as ringing, buzzing, or any number of 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 buzzing is called) will differ from person to person and depend considerably on the source of your hearing problems. But there are certain common threads that can help you get ready for your own tinnitus treatment.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is not uncommon. The buzzing or ringing (or any number of sounds) in your ear can be caused by a variety of underlying problems. So when it comes to treatment, tinnitus is often split into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Underlying medical issues, including ear infections, excessive earwax, a growth, or other medical problems, can be the cause of tinnitus. Medical professionals will typically try to treat the root problem as their first priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally saved for tinnitus caused by damaged hearing or hearing loss. Severe, persistent, 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 treat.
The best way to treat your symptoms will be determined by the underlying cause of your hearing problem and the kind of tinnitus you have.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will typically go away when the underlying medical problem is addressed. Here are a few treatments for medical tinnitus:
- Antibiotics: Your doctor may prescribe you with antibiotics if your tinnitus is caused by a bacterial ear infection. Your tinnitus symptoms will probably go away when the infection clears.
- 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 diminishing your quality of life.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic solutions. Hydrocortisone might be prescribed in these cases to manage other symptoms.
You’ll want to make an appointment to get a consultation so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Non-medical tinnitus treatment options
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are often a lot more difficult to diagnose and manage than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure especially if it’s related to hearing impairment. Instead, treatment to improve quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices hide your tinnitus noises by creating enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. Certain sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what noises your tinnitus is generating.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is becoming worse as your hearing worsens. When you are dealing with hearing impairment everything outside becomes quieter and that can make your tinnitus noises seem louder. A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by raising the volume of everything else.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some circumstances, you can be trained to disregard the sounds of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly used strategy created to help you reach just that.
- Medications: There are some experimental medicines available for treating tinnitus. As an example, tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be reduced by mixtures of anti-anxiety medication and steroids. But before you make any decisions, you’ll want to talk to us.
Find what works
For the majority of us, it won’t be completely clear what’s triggering our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to try multiple strategies in order to successfully treat your own hearing issues. Depending on the source of your ringing or buzzing, there may not be a cure for your tinnitus. But numerous different treatments are available that could decrease the symptoms. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.