You might have a typical reaction when you first notice that ringing in your ears: pretend that it’s no big deal. You go through your day the same way you always do: you have a chat with friends, go shopping, and make lunch. In the meantime, you’re trying to force that ringing in your ear out of your mind. Because you’re convinced of one fact: your tinnitus will go away on its own.
You start to worry, however, when after a few days the buzzing and ringing is unrelenting.
This scenario happens to other people as well. Tinnitus can be a challenging little affliction, sometimes it will go away by itself and sometimes, it will stick around for a long time to come.
The Condition of Temporary Tinnitus
Tinnitus is incredibly common around the world, virtually everyone’s had a bout here and there. In almost all circumstances, tinnitus is essentially temporary and will ultimately vanish by itself. A rock concert is an excellent illustration: you go see Bruce Springsteen at your local arena (it’s a good show) and when you get home, you discover that there is ringing in your ears.
Within a few days the type of tinnitus related to damage from loud noise will usually fade away (but you accept that it’s simply part of going to a loud concert).
Naturally, it’s precisely this kind of noise damage that, over time, can cause loss of hearing to go from temporary (or acute, as they say) to chronic. Too many of those types of concerts and you could wind up with permanent tinnitus.
Often Times, Tinnitus Doesn’t Just Disappear
If your tinnitus lingers for over three months it’s then labeled as chronic tinnitus (but you should have it checked by a specialist long before that).
Around 5-15% of individuals globally have reported symptoms of chronic tinnitus. The exact causes of tinnitus are still not very well understood though there are some known connections (such as hearing loss).
Normally, a fast cure for tinnitus will be elusive if the triggers aren’t obvious. If your ears have been ringing for more than three months and there’s no discernible cause, there’s a strong chance that the sound will not subside on its own. But if this is your circumstance, you can preserve your quality of life and control your symptoms with some treatment options (like noise canceling devices and cognitive behavioral therapy).
The Cause of Your Tinnitus is Relevant
It becomes much simpler to decrease the symptoms of tinnitus when you are able to recognize the underlying causes. For instance, if your tinnitus is produced by a stubborn, bacterial ear infection, treatment with an antibiotic will usually solve both problems, resulting in a healthy ear and clear hearing.
Here are some potential causes of acute tinnitus:
- A blockage in the ear or ear canal
- Damage to the eardrum (such as a perforated eardrum)
- Chronic ear infections
- Meniere’s disease (this usually has no cure and is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
- Loss of hearing (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever go Away?
The truth is that in almost all cases, yes, your tinnitus will subside 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 coping with chronic tinnitus.
You believe that if you just ignore it should disappear on its own. But there may come a point where your tinnitus starts to become irritating, where it’s tough to focus because the sound is too distracting. In those circumstances, crossing your fingers might not be the comprehensive treatment plan you need.
In most situations, however, in fact, throughout most of your life, your tinnitus will normally go away on its own, a typical reaction to a noisy environment (and your body’s means of telling you to avoid that situation from now on). Only time will tell if your tinnitus is chronic or acute.