The ringing in your ear keeps worsening. It started off quietly enough, one of those “is it really there” kind of situations. But you’ve observed how loud and persistent the tinnitus noises have become after a full day on the job at a construction site. At times, it sounds like ringing or other sounds. You don’t know if you should come in and see us or how ringing in your ears could even be treated.
The source of your tinnitus symptoms will greatly determine what approach will be most suitable for you. But there are some common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus therapy.
What kind of tinnitus do you have?
Tinnitus is very common. There can be a variety of causes for the ringing (or whatever tinnitus sounds you’re hearing). That’s why tinnitus is usually divided into two categories when it comes to treatment:
- Medical Tinnitus: Underlying medical problems, including ear infections, excessive earwax, a growth, or other medical problems, can be the cause of tinnitus. Medical providers will typically try to treat the underlying issue as their primary priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: Tinnitus that is triggered by hearing damage or hearing loss is usually known as “non-medical” tinnitus. As time passes, exposure to harmful noise (such as the noise at your construction site) can cause constant, significant, and chronic tinnitus. It’s usually very challenging to treat non-medical tinnitus.
The kind of tinnitus you have, and the underlying cause of the hearing ailment, will determine the best ways to manage those symptoms.
Treatments for medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will typically clear up when the underlying medical problem is treated. Treatments for medical tinnitus may include:
- Antibiotics: Your doctor may prescribe you with antibiotics if your tinnitus is related to a bacterial ear infection. Your tinnitus symptoms will most likely go-away when the infection clears.
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be addressed with antibiotics. For example, antibiotics never work on viral infections. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone to help you control other symptoms.
- Surgery: When your tinnitus is caused by a tumor or other growth, doctors may perform surgery to remove the mass that’s causing your tinnitus, particularly if your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life.
You’ll want to schedule an appointment to come see us so we customize a tinnitus treatment plan, especially if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are often a lot more difficult to identify and treat than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure particularly if it’s related to hearing loss. Instead, treatment to enhance quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal strategy.
- Noise-masking devices: These devices mask your tinnitus noises by producing enough white noise to allow the buzzing or ringing to fade into the background. These devices can be calibrated to generate certain sounds created to offset your tinnitus symptoms.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: You can get training that will help you learn to ignore your tinnitus sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly utilized method designed to help you reach 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. However, you’ll want to speak with us before making any decisions about medications.
- Hearing aids: A hearing aid can help if your tinnitus is getting worse as your hearing worsens. The tinnitus symptoms probably seem louder because everything else gets quieter (due to hearing loss). A hearing aid can help mask the sound of your tinnitus by raising the volume of everything else.
Find what works
For most of us, it won’t be immediately clear what’s causing our tinnitus, so it’s likely you’ll need to try several strategies in order to successfully treat your own hearing problems. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are numerous treatments available. The trick is discovering the one that works for you.