Hearing Health Blog

Woman with hands to her ears in pain wondering when the ringing in her ears will stop.

When you first hear that ringing in your ears you may have a very typical reaction: pretend everything’s ok. You continue your regular habits: you do your shopping, you make dinner, you try to have a discussion with your partner. All the while, you’re trying to push that ringing in your ear to the back of your mind. Because you’re convinced of one thing: your tinnitus will go away on its own.

You start to get concerned, however, when after a few days the ringing and buzzing is unrelenting.

You’re not the only person to ever be in this situation. sometimes tinnitus will go away on its own, and other times it will linger on and that’s why it’s a tricky little disorder.

When Tinnitus is Likely to Vanish by Itself

Tinnitus is incredibly common everywhere, virtually everyone’s had a bout every now and then. In almost all situations, tinnitus is basically temporary and will eventually vanish by itself. A rock concert is an excellent example: you go to your local stadium to see your favorite band and you notice, when you get back home, that your ears are ringing.

Within a few days the kind of tinnitus associated with damage from loud noise will commonly disappear (and you chalk it up to the cost of seeing your favorite band play live).

After a while hearing loss can develop from temporary or “acute” to permanent or “chronic” because of this exact type of damage. Too many of those types of concerts and you might end up with permanent tinnitus.

When Tinnitus Doesn’t Seem to be Going Away on its own

If your tinnitus doesn’t diminish (either on its own or with help) within the span of three months or so, the condition is then categorized as chronic tinnitus (this does not, by the way, suggest that you should wait that long to consult with a specialist about lingering thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears).

Something like 5-15% of individuals around the world have reported symptoms of chronic tinnitus. The precise causes of tinnitus are still not well understood even though there are some known associations (like hearing loss).

Usually, a quick cure for tinnitus will be unidentifiable if the causes aren’t clear. There is a good possibility that your tinnitus won’t disappear on its own if you have been hearing the ringing for over three months. But if this is your situation, you can safeguard your quality of life and manage your symptoms with some treatment possibilities (like noise canceling devices and cognitive behavioral therapy).

The Cause of Your Tinnitus is Significant

When you can determine the root cause of your tinnitus, dealing with the condition quickly becomes much simpler. If a bacterial ear infection is, for instance, the cause of your tinnitus, you can restore a healthy ear and clear hearing by managing it with antibiotics.

Some causes of acute tinnitus might consist of:

  • A blockage in the ear or ear canal
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Loss of hearing (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
  • 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)

The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever Subside?

The truth is that in almost all cases, yes, your tinnitus will go away on its own. But the longer it lingers, the longer you hear reverberations or humming or whatever the sound happens to be, the more likely it becomes that you’re dealing with chronic tinnitus.

You believe that if you simply ignore it should vanish by itself. But there could come a point where your tinnitus starts to become irritating, where it’s hard to concentrate because the sound is too disruptive. In those situations, wishful thinking might not be the comprehensive treatment plan you need.

In most situations, however, in fact, throughout most of your life, your tinnitus will usually go away by itself, a normal response to a noisy environment (and your body’s method of letting you know to avoid that environment from now on). Only time will tell if your tinnitus is chronic or acute.

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