You might have a common reaction when you first hear that ringing in your ears: pretend everything’s good. You set about your normal routines: you do your grocery shopping, you make dinner, you try to have a conversation with your partner. All the while, you’re attempting to force that ringing in your ear to the back of your mind. Because you’re convinced of one thing: your tinnitus will fade away on its own.
You start to worry, though, when after a few days the ringing and buzzing is unrelenting.
You aren’t the only person to ever be in this position. sometimes tinnitus will go away by itself, and at other times it will linger on and that’s the reason why it’s a challenging little disorder.
When Tinnitus is Likely to Disappear by Itself
Tinnitus is incredibly common everywhere, nearly everybody’s had a bout here and there. Tinnitus is a non-permanent condition, in most circumstances, and will ultimately recede on its own. The most prevalent scenario is the rock concert: you go see Bruce Springsteen at your local arena (it’s a good show) and when you go home, you notice that your ears are ringing.
The kind of tinnitus that is associated with temporary damage from loud noise will normally decrease within a couple of days (and you chalk it up to the price of seeing your favorite band on stage).
Of course, it’s precisely this kind of noise injury that, over time, can cause loss of hearing to go from temporary (or acute, as they say) to chronic. One concert too many and you may be waiting quite a while for your tinnitus to subside by itself.
When Tinnitus Doesn’t Seem to be Getting Better by Itself
If your tinnitus doesn’t diminish (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 three months to talk to an expert about lingering thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears).
Something like 5-15% of people globally have recorded indications of chronic tinnitus. While there are some understood close associations (like hearing loss, for instance), the causes of tinnitus aren’t yet well understood.
When the triggers of your tinnitus aren’t obvious, it normally means that a fast “cure” will be evasive. There is a strong chance that your tinnitus won’t go away on its own if you have been hearing the ringing for over three months. But if this is your situation, you can maintain your quality of life and control your symptoms with some treatment possibilities (like noise canceling devices and cognitive behavioral therapy).
The Cause of Your Tinnitus is Relevant
When you can determine the root 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 issues, bringing about a healthy ear and crystal-clear hearing.
Here are some likely causes of acute tinnitus:
- A blockage in the ear or ear canal
- Hearing loss (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
- Damage to the eardrum (such as a perforated eardrum)
- Chronic ear infections
- Meniere’s disease (this is often associated with chronic tinnitus, as Meniere’s has no cure)
The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever go Away?
The truth is that in most cases, yes, your tinnitus will go away by itself. But it becomes significantly more likely that you’re coping with chronic tinnitus the longer these tinnitus sounds remain.
You can convince yourself that everything is fine and hope that the ringing will simply stop. But there could come a point where your tinnitus begins to become uncomfortable, where it’s tough to focus because the sound is too disruptive. And in those cases, you may want a treatment plan more thorough than crossing your fingers.
In most instances, however, as a matter of fact, throughout most of your life, your tinnitus will usually subside on its own, a typical reaction to a loud environment (and your body’s means of letting you know to stay away from that environment from now on). Only time will tell if your tinnitus is acute or chronic.