You might have a common reaction when you first hear 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 to the store, and cook lunch. In the meantime, you’re trying to push that ringing in your ear out of your mind. Because you’re convinced of one fact: your tinnitus will fade away on its own.
After several more days of unremitting buzzing and ringing, however, you start to have doubts.
You aren’t the only person to ever find yourself in this scenario. Tinnitus can be a challenging little condition, at times it will recede on its own and sometimes, it will stick around for a long time to come.
When Tinnitus is Likely to Go Away on Its Own
Tinnitus is extremely common everywhere, almost everybody’s had a bout here and there. Tinnitus is a non-permanent condition, in most cases, and will ultimately go away on its own. A rock concert is a good example: you go to your local arena to see your favorite band and you discover, when you get home, that there is a ringing in your ears.
Within a couple of days the type of tinnitus connected to damage from loud noise will usually disappear (but you accept that it’s just part of going to a loud performance).
Over time loss of hearing can go 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 wind up with permanent tinnitus.
When Tinnitus Doesn’t Seem to be Getting Better on its own
If your tinnitus doesn’t decrease (either on its own or with help) within the period of three months or so, the condition is then classified chronic tinnitus (this does not, however, mean that you should wait three months to consult with a specialist about lingering thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears).
Around 5-15% of individuals globally have reported indications of chronic tinnitus. While there are some known close associations (like loss of hearing, as an example), the causes of tinnitus aren’t yet well understood.
When the triggers of your tinnitus aren’t clear, it normally means that a fast “cure” will be unidentifiable. 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 go away by itself. But if this is your circumstance, you can maintain your quality of life and control your symptoms with some treatment options (such as noise canceling devices and cognitive behavioral therapy).
The Cause of Your Tinnitus is Relevant
When you can identify the underlying cause of your tinnitus, mitigating the condition suddenly becomes a lot easier. If a bacterial ear infection is, for instance, the cause of your tinnitus, you can revive a healthy ear and clear hearing by treating it with antibiotics.
Here are some possible causes of acute tinnitus:
- Hearing loss (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
- Meniere’s disease (this is often associated with chronic tinnitus, as Meniere’s has no cure)
- Eardrum damage (such as a perforated eardrum)
- Chronic ear infections
- A blockage in the ear or ear canal
The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever go Away?
The bottom line is that in most cases, yes, your tinnitus will recede on its own. But the longer it hangs around, the longer you hear tinnitus noises, the more likely it becomes that you’re coping with chronic tinnitus.
You believe that if you just disregard it should disappear by itself. But there may come a point where your tinnitus begins to become uncomfortable, where it’s hard to concentrate because the sound is too distracting. And in those situations, you might want a treatment strategy more thorough than crossing your fingers.
The majority of the time tinnitus is simply the body’s response to loud noise that could be damaging over time and will subside by itself. Only time will tell if your tinnitus is chronic or acute.