You might have a common reaction when you first notice that ringing in your ears: pretend that it’s no big thing. You go about your normal routines: you do your shopping, you make dinner, you attempt to have a discussion with your partner. All the while, you’re trying to force that ringing in your ear out of your mind. Because there is one thing you feel sure of: your tinnitus will go away by itself.
After a few more days of unremitting ringing and buzzing, though, you begin to have doubts.
You aren’t the only person to ever be in this situation. At times tinnitus stop by itself, and at other times it will linger on and that’s the reason why it’s a tricky little disorder.
The Condition of Temporary Tinnitus
Around the globe, nearly everyone has had a bout of tinnitus because it’s very common. In almost all situations, tinnitus is essentially temporary and will ultimately go away on its own. A rock concert is a good illustration: you go see Bruce Springsteen at your local stadium (it’s a good show) and when you get home, you notice that your ears are ringing.
The type of tinnitus that is associated with temporary injury from loud noise will normally subside within a few days (but you accept that it’s just part of going to a loud show).
Over time loss of hearing can develop from temporary or “acute” to permanent or “chronic” because of this exact kind of damage. One concert too many and you may be waiting quite a while for your tinnitus to go away by itself.
When Tinnitus Doesn’t Seem to be Getting Better by Itself
If your tinnitus doesn’t diminish (either on its own or with help) within the span of three months or so, the ailment is then classified chronic tinnitus (this does not, however, suggest that you should wait three months to talk to an expert about lingering ringing, buzzing, or thumping in your ears).
Something like 5-15% of individuals globally have recorded symptoms of chronic tinnitus. While there are some recognized close associations (like loss of hearing, for instance), the causes of tinnitus aren’t yet very well comprehended.
When the triggers of your tinnitus aren’t obvious, it normally means that a quick “cure” will be unidentifiable. If your ears have been ringing for over three months and there’s no discernible cause, there’s a strong chance that the sound will not disappear on its own. But if this is your circumstance, you can protect your quality of life and control your symptoms with some treatment options (like noise canceling devices and cognitive behavioral therapy).
The Reason For Your Tinnitus is Important
It becomes much easier to decrease the symptoms of tinnitus when you are able to determine the fundamental causes. If a bacterial ear infection is, for example, the reason for your tinnitus, you can regain a healthy ear and clear hearing by treating it with antibiotics.
Some causes of acute tinnitus may consist of:
- A blockage in the ear or ear canal
- Chronic ear infections
- Damage to the eardrum (such as a perforated eardrum)
- Meniere’s disease (this is often associated with chronic tinnitus, as Meniere’s has no cure)
- Loss of hearing (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever go Away?
Generally speaking, your tinnitus will subside by itself. But the longer it hangs around, the longer you hear tinnitus noises, the more likely it becomes that you’re experiencing chronic tinnitus.
You can convince yourself there’s nothing wrong and hope that the noises will simply go away. But sooner or later, your tinnitus may become uncomfortable and it could become difficult to focus on anything else. And in those cases, you may want a treatment plan more thorough than crossing your fingers.
In most cases, though, as a matter of fact, throughout most of your life, your tinnitus will usually subside by itself, a normal response to a noisy environment (and your body’s means of letting you know to stay away from that situation from now on). Only time will tell if your tinnitus is chronic or acute.