You might have a typical reaction when you first hear that ringing in your ears: pretend that it’s no big thing. You go about your normal routines: you have a conversation with family, go to the store, and cook lunch. All the while, you’re trying to push that ringing in your ear to the back of your mind. Because you feel sure of one fact: your tinnitus will fade away by itself.
You start to worry, however, when after a few days the buzzing and ringing is unrelenting.
This situation happens to other people as well. Tinnitus can be a tricky little condition, sometimes it will recede by itself and in some cases, it will stay for a long time to come.
When Tinnitus is Likely to Vanish by Itself
Around the globe, nearly everybody has had a bout of tinnitus because it’s extremely common. In almost all situations, tinnitus is essentially temporary and will eventually recede by itself. A rock concert is a good example: you go see Bruce Springsteen at your local arena (it’s a good show) and when you go home, you realize that your ears are ringing.
The kind of tinnitus that is linked to temporary injury from loud noise will usually decrease within a few days (and you chalk it up to the cost of seeing your favorite band play live).
Naturally, it’s precisely this type of noise damage that, over time, can cause loss of hearing to go from temporary (or acute, as they say) to chronic. Too many of those types of concerts and you could end up with permanent tinnitus.
When Tinnitus Doesn’t Seem to be Disappearing by Itself
If your tinnitus doesn’t decrease (with help or on its own) within the period of three months or so, the disorder is then categorized as chronic tinnitus (this does not, by the way, imply that you should wait three months to consult with an expert about lingering thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears).
Something like 5-15% of people globally have recorded indications of chronic tinnitus. The precise causes of tinnitus are still not well understood although there are some known associations (such as hearing loss).
When the triggers of your tinnitus aren’t obvious, it usually means that a quick “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 subside on its own. In those circumstances, there are treatment possibilities available (such as cognitive behavioral therapy or noise-canceling devices) that can help you deal with symptoms and protect your quality of life.
The Cause of Your Tinnitus is Relevant
It becomes a lot easier to decrease the symptoms of tinnitus when you can establish the fundamental causes. If a bacterial ear infection is, for instance, the reason for your tinnitus, you can regain a healthy ear and clear hearing by treating it with antibiotics.
Here are some likely causes of acute tinnitus:
- A blockage in the ear or ear canal
- Eardrum damage (such as a perforated eardrum)
- Hearing loss (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
- Chronic ear infections
- Meniere’s disease (this usually has no cure and is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever go Away?
Generally speaking, your tinnitus will go away by itself. But the longer it lingers, the longer you hear reverberations or humming or whatever the sound happens to be, the more likely it becomes that you’re experiencing chronic tinnitus.
You can persuade yourself there’s nothing wrong and hope that the buzzing will just go away. But there could come a point where your tinnitus starts to become irritating, where it’s difficult to focus because the sound is too distracting. In those circumstances, wishful thinking might not be the complete treatment plan you require.
Most of the time tinnitus is simply the body’s reaction to loud noise that could be damaging over time and will go away on its own. Only time will tell if your tinnitus is chronic or acute.