You have a buzzing in your ears and it’s not improving, if anything it’s getting worse. At first, you could barely notice it. But after being at the construction site all day (for work), you’ve noticed just how loud (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 treated?
The source of your tinnitus symptoms will greatly establish what approach will be most suitable for you. But there are some common threads that can help you prepare for your own tinnitus therapy.
There are a couple of different types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is incredibly common. The ringing or buzzing (or any number of noises) in your ear can be caused by a variety of underlying problems. So in terms of treatment, tinnitus is usually divided into one of two categories:
- Medical Tinnitus: Some tinnitus symptoms are caused by an underlying medical issue, like an ear infection, excessive earwax, or a growth, among other ailments. Medical providers will usually try to treat the root issue as their first priority.
- Non-Medical Tinnitus: “Non-medical” nomenclature is generally saved for tinnitus caused by hearing damage or hearing loss. Significant, persistent, 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 kind of tinnitus you have, and the root cause of the hearing condition, will determine the best ways to treat those symptoms.
Treating medical tinnitus
Your medical tinnitus symptoms will usually clear up when the underlying medical issue is treated. Treatments for medical tinnitus could include:
- Hydrocortisone: Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics. Viral infections, for instance, never respond to antibiotic treatments. In these cases, your doctor might prescribe hydrocortisone to help you manage other symptoms.
- 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 most likely go away when the infection clears up.
- Surgery: Doctors may decide to do surgery to remove any tumor or growth that could be causing your tinnitus symptoms.
You’ll want to make an appointment to come see us so we personalize a tinnitus treatment plan, particularly if you’re coping with medical tinnitus.
Treatments for non-medical tinnitus
The causes of non-medical tinnitus are frequently a lot harder to diagnose and manage than is typically the case with medical tinnitus. Non-medical tinnitus has no cure particularly if it’s caused by hearing loss. Instead, treatment to improve quality of life by relieving symptoms is the normal course of action.
- Noise-masking devices: Sometimes called “white noise machines,” these devices are designed to provide enough sound to minimize your ability to hear the ringing or buzzing brought on by your tinnitus. Certain sounds can be programmed into these devices depending on what sounds your tinnitus is producing.
- Hearing aids: If your tinnitus becomes more dominant as your hearing diminishes, a hearing aid could help you manage the symptoms of both ailments. When you have hearing loss everything outside becomes 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.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: In some situations, you can be trained to ignore the sounds of your tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely utilized method created to help you achieve just that.
- Medications: There are some experimental medications available for treating tinnitus. For example, steroids and anti-anxiety medication mixtures can sometimes help minimize tinnitus symptoms. Still, you’ll want to talk to us before making any decisions about medications.
Find what works
In order to successfully treat your hearing issues you will probably need to try out several strategies as the exact cause of your tinnitus most likely won’t be clear. In most cases, tinnitus can’t be cured. But there are various treatments available. Finding the right one for you is the trick.