You may have a typical reaction when you first notice that ringing in your ears: pretend that it’s no big thing. You set about your regular routines: you have a conversation with family, go shopping, and make lunch. While you simultaneously try your hardest to ignore that ringing. Because there is one thing you feel sure about: your tinnitus will fade away on its own.
After several more days of unrelenting ringing and buzzing, however, you begin to have doubts.
You’re not the only person to ever be in this position. Tinnitus can be a tricky little affliction, sometimes it will disappear on its own and sometimes, it will stick around for a longer period of time.
The Condition of Temporary Tinnitus
Tinnitus is very common everywhere, nearly everyone’s had a bout every now and then. Tinnitus is a non-permanent condition, in most situations, and will ultimately vanish by itself. A rock concert is a good example: you go to your local stadium to see your favorite band and you discover, when you get home, that your ears are ringing.
The kind of tinnitus that is associated with temporary injury from loud noise will usually decrease within a couple of days (and you chalk it up to the cost of seeing your favorite band play live).
Eventually loss of hearing can go from temporary or “acute” to permanent or “chronic” because of this exact type of injury. One concert too many and you could be waiting a long, long time for your tinnitus to go away on its own.
When Tinnitus Doesn’t Seem to be Disappearing by Itself
If your tinnitus doesn’t subside (with help or on its own) within the period of three months or so, the disorder is then classified chronic tinnitus (this does not, by the way, imply that you should wait that long to talk to an expert about lingering thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears).
Something like 5-15% of people around the world have recorded signs of chronic tinnitus. While there are some recognized close associations (such as hearing loss, for example), the causes of tinnitus aren’t yet very well comprehended.
Often, a fast cure for tinnitus will be elusive if the triggers aren’t clear. There is a good possibility that your tinnitus won’t go away by itself if you have been hearing the ringing for over three months. In those instances, there are treatment options available (such as cognitive behavioral therapy or noise-canceling devices) that can help you manage symptoms and preserve your quality of life.
It’s Significant to Know What The Cause of Your Tinnitus is
When you can determine the underlying cause of your tinnitus, mitigating the condition suddenly becomes a lot easier. For instance, if your tinnitus is created by a persistent, bacterial ear infection, treatment with an antibiotic will tend to solve both problems, leading to a healthy ear and crystal-clear hearing.
Some causes of acute tinnitus could consist of:
- A blockage in the ear or ear canal
- Chronic ear infections
- Hearing loss (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
- Eardrum damage (such as a perforated eardrum)
- Meniere’s disease (this is often associated with chronic tinnitus, as Meniere’s has no cure)
The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever Subside?
The bottom line is that in almost all cases, yes, your tinnitus will subside on its own. But it becomes progressively more likely that you’re experiencing chronic tinnitus the longer these tinnitus sounds last.
You can convince yourself that everything is fine and hope that the buzzing will simply go away. But there may come a point where your tinnitus starts to become irritating, where it’s hard to focus because the sound is too distracting. In those circumstances, crossing your fingers might not be the comprehensive treatment plan you require.
In most instances, though, as a matter of fact, throughout most of your life, your tinnitus will often go away on its own, a typical response to a loud environment (and your body’s means of telling you to avoid that situation in the future). Whether that’s acute or chronic tinnitus, well, we’ll only know over time.