You could have a common reaction when you first notice that ringing in your ears: pretend everything’s ok. You go about your normal habits: you do your shopping, you cook dinner, you try to have a conversation with your partner. All the while, you’re trying to force that ringing in your ear out of your mind. Because you feel sure of one thing: your tinnitus will fade away by itself.
You start to get concerned, however, when after a couple of days the buzzing and ringing is unrelenting.
You aren’t the only one to ever find yourself in this scenario. At times tinnitus will go away by itself, and other times it will linger on and that’s the reason why it’s a tricky little disorder.
When Tinnitus is Likely to Disappear by Itself
Tinnitus is very common everywhere, almost everybody’s had a bout every now and then. In virtually all circumstances, tinnitus is basically temporary and will ultimately vanish by itself. The most typical scenario is the rock concert: you go see Bruce Springsteen at your local arena (it’s a good show) and when you get home, you notice that there is ringing in your ears.
The kind of tinnitus that is associated with temporary injury from loud noise will often subside within a couple of days (but you accept that it’s just part of going to a loud show).
Naturally, it’s precisely this type of noise damage that, over time, can cause hearing loss to move from temporary (or acute, as they say) to chronic. Too many of those kinds of concerts and you may wind up with permanent tinnitus.
Often Times, Tinnitus Doesn’t Just Disappear
If your tinnitus persists for over three months it’s then identified as chronic tinnitus (but you should have it examined by a specialist long before that).
Around 5-15% of people globally have documented signs of chronic tinnitus. While there are some known close associations (like loss of hearing, for example), the causes of tinnitus aren’t yet very well comprehended.
Normally, a quick cure for tinnitus will be evasive if the causes aren’t obvious. There is a good chance that your tinnitus won’t recede on its own if you have been hearing the ringing for over three months. In those instances, there are treatment options available (like cognitive behavioral therapy or noise-canceling devices) that can help you control symptoms and preserve your quality of life.
It’s Relevant to Know What The Cause of Your Tinnitus is
When you can identify the underlying cause of your tinnitus, dealing with the condition suddenly becomes a lot simpler. For example, if your tinnitus is produced by a persistent, bacterial ear infection, treatment with an antibiotic will usually solve both problems, leading to a healthy ear and clear hearing.
Here are some potential causes of acute tinnitus:
- Meniere’s disease (this usually has no cure and is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
- Hearing loss (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
- A blockage in the ear or ear canal
- Damage to the eardrum (such as a perforated eardrum)
- Chronic ear infections
The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever go Away?
The bottom line is that in almost all cases, yes, your tinnitus will recede by itself. But it becomes significantly more likely that you’re facing chronic tinnitus the longer these noises remain.
You can convince yourself that everything is fine and hope that the buzzing will simply go away. But at some point, your tinnitus may become uncomfortable and it may become hard to focus on anything else. In those situations, crossing your fingers may not be the comprehensive treatment plan you require.
In most cases, however, as a matter of fact, throughout most of your life, your tinnitus will usually subside by itself, a normal reaction to a noisy environment (and your body’s way of telling you to avoid that situation in the future). Whether that’s chronic or acute tinnitus, well, we’ll only know over time.