Hearing Services of Nashville

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

When you first notice that ringing in your ears you may have a very common response: pretend that it’s no big deal. You go through your day the same way you always do: you have a conversation with family, go to the store, and make lunch. In the meantime, you’re trying to force that ringing in your ear out of your mind. Because there is one thing you feel certain about: your tinnitus will go away by itself.

After a few more days of unrelenting buzzing and ringing, however, you begin to have doubts.

This scenario happens to others as well. At times tinnitus stop on its own, and at other times it will stick around and that’s why it’s a challenging little disorder.

The Condition of Temporary Tinnitus

Tinnitus is extremely common around the world, nearly everybody’s had a bout every now and then. Tinnitus is a non-permanent condition, in most cases, and will eventually vanish by itself. The most prevalent example is the rock concert: you go see Bruce Springsteen at your local stadium (it’s a good show) and when you go home, you realize that there is ringing in your ears.

Within a few days the type of tinnitus related to injury from loud noise will commonly disappear (but you accept that it’s simply part of going to a loud concert).

Eventually hearing loss can develop from temporary or “acute” to permanent or “chronic” because of this exact type of damage. Too many of those kinds of concerts and you could end up with permanent tinnitus.

Often Times, Tinnitus Doesn’t Just Disappear

If your tinnitus lingers for over three months it’s then referred to as chronic tinnitus (but you should get it checked by a specialist long before that).

Something like 5-15% of people globally have reported indications of chronic tinnitus. The exact causes of tinnitus are still not very well understood though there are some known connections (such as hearing loss).

When the triggers of your tinnitus aren’t obvious, it usually means that a fast “cure” will be elusive. There is a good chance 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 circumstance, you can preserve your quality of life and deal with your symptoms with some treatment options (like noise canceling devices and cognitive behavioral therapy).

The Cause of Your Tinnitus is Important

When you can determine the fundamental cause of your tinnitus, dealing with the condition quickly becomes much easier. For example, if your tinnitus is produced by a persistent, bacterial ear infection, treatment with an antibiotic will usually solve both issues, leading to a healthy ear and clear hearing.

Here are some possible 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 Subside?

The bottom line is that in almost all cases, yes, your tinnitus will go away on its own. But it becomes increasingly more likely that you’re experiencing chronic tinnitus the longer these tinnitus sounds remain.

You can convince yourself there’s nothing wrong and hope that the noises will just stop. But sooner or later, your tinnitus could become uncomfortable and it may become tough to concentrate on anything else. And in those cases, you might want a treatment plan more comprehensive than crossing your fingers.

In most cases, though, as a matter of 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 means of telling you to stay away from that situation from now on). Whether that’s chronic or acute tinnitus, well, only time will tell.

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