When you first hear that ringing in your ears you may have a very typical reaction: pretend everything’s fine. You go through your day the same way you always do: you do your shopping, you cook dinner, you try to have a conversation with your partner. While you simultaneously try your hardest to dismiss that ringing. Because you’re convinced of one fact: your tinnitus will fade away by itself.
After a few more days of unrelenting ringing and buzzing, however, you begin to have doubts.
This situation happens to other people as well. At times tinnitus stop by itself, and other times it will stick around and that’s why it’s a challenging little condition.
The Condition of Temporary Tinnitus
Tinnitus is incredibly common everywhere, nearly everyone’s had a bout here and there. In virtually all cases, tinnitus is basically temporary and will eventually vanish by itself. The most prevalent scenario 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.
The type of tinnitus that is associated with temporary injury from loud noise will usually diminish within a couple of days (and you chalk it up to the cost of seeing your favorite band on stage).
Of course, it’s exactly this kind of noise damage 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 go away on its own.
When Tinnitus Doesn’t Seem to be Disappearing on its own
If your tinnitus doesn’t decrease (either on its own or with help) within the span of three months or so, the condition is then categorized as chronic tinnitus (this does not, by the way, suggest that you should wait that long to consult with an expert about lingering thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears).
Around 5-15% of individuals globally have documented symptoms of chronic tinnitus. The exact causes of tinnitus are still not well understood even though there are some known connections (such as loss of hearing).
When the causes of your tinnitus aren’t obvious, it often means that a fast “cure” will be elusive. There is a strong possibility that your tinnitus won’t recede on its own if you have been hearing the ringing for more than three months. But if this is your situation, you can protect your quality of life and deal with your symptoms with some treatment possibilities (such as noise canceling devices and cognitive behavioral therapy).
The Reason For Your Tinnitus is Relevant
It becomes a lot simpler to decrease the symptoms of tinnitus when you are able to identify the fundamental causes. If a bacterial ear infection is, for example, 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:
- Chronic ear infections
- Loss of hearing (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
- A blockage in the ear or ear canal
- Eardrum damage (such as a perforated eardrum)
- Meniere’s disease (this usually has no cure and is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
So…Will The Ringing in My Ears Go Away?
The truth 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 experiencing chronic tinnitus.
You believe that if you just disregard it should disappear by itself. But eventually, your tinnitus might become distressing and it could become difficult to concentrate on anything else. And in those cases, you might want a treatment strategy more comprehensive than crossing your fingers.
Most of the time tinnitus is simply the body’s reaction to loud noise that may be damaging over time and will subside by itself. Whether that’s acute or chronic tinnitus, well, we’ll only know over time.