When you first notice that ringing in your ears you may have a very common response: pretend everything’s ok. You continue your normal routines: you have a conversation with friends, go shopping, and cook lunch. While you simultaneously try your hardest to dismiss that ringing. Because there is one thing you feel certain of: your tinnitus will fade away by itself.
After a few more days of unremitting ringing and buzzing, however, you start to have doubts.
You aren’t the only one to ever find yourself in this position. At times tinnitus stop 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 Vanish on Its Own
Tinnitus is very common around the world, virtually everybody’s had a bout here and there. Tinnitus is a temporary condition, in most cases, and will ultimately recede on its own. The most prevalent example 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 your ears are ringing.
The kind of tinnitus that is linked to temporary injury from loud noise will normally decrease within a couple of days (but you realize that it’s just part of going to a loud show).
Naturally, it’s precisely this kind of noise injury that, over time, can cause hearing loss to go from temporary (or acute, as they say) to chronic. Too many of those kinds of concerts and you could wind up with permanent tinnitus.
When Tinnitus Doesn’t Seem to be Getting Better by Itself
If your tinnitus persists for over three months it’s then classified as chronic tinnitus (but you should get it examined by an expert long before that).
Around 5-15% of people around the world have documented signs of chronic tinnitus. While there are some known close associations (such as loss of hearing, for example), the causes of tinnitus aren’t yet really understood.
When the causes of your tinnitus aren’t obvious, it often means that a fast “cure” will be elusive. If your ears have been buzzing for over three months and there’s no identifiable cause, there’s a strong possibility that the sound will not subside by itself. In those instances, there are treatment possibilities available (like cognitive behavioral therapy or noise-canceling devices) that can help you control symptoms and protect your quality of life.
The Cause of Your Tinnitus is Significant
It becomes much simpler to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus when you can 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 managing it with antibiotics.
Some causes of acute tinnitus might include:
- 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)
- Hearing loss (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever Subside?
In general, your tinnitus will go away on its own. But it becomes significantly more likely that you’re dealing with chronic tinnitus the longer these tinnitus sounds remain.
You think that if you simply disregard it should go away on its own. But there may come a point where your tinnitus begins to become uncomfortable, where it’s hard to focus because the sound is too disruptive. And in those instances, you may want a treatment plan more comprehensive than crossing your fingers.
In most cases, though, in fact, throughout most of your life, your tinnitus will usually go away on its own, a normal reaction to a noisy environment (and your body’s method of telling you to stay away from that environment in the future). Only time will tell if your tinnitus is chronic or acute.