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

When you first hear that ringing in your ears you could have a very common response: pretend that it’s no big deal. You set about your normal habits: you do your grocery shopping, you cook dinner, you attempt to have a discussion with your partner. 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.

You start to worry, however, when after a few days the buzzing and ringing is unrelenting.

This situation happens to other people as well. At times tinnitus will go away on its own, and at other times it will linger on and that’s why it’s a tricky little condition.

The Condition of Temporary Tinnitus

Around the world, nearly everyone has had a bout of tinnitus because it’s quite common. In nearly all situations, tinnitus is essentially temporary and will eventually go away on its own. A rock concert is an excellent illustration: you go to your local arena to see your favorite band and you notice, when you get home, that your ears are ringing.

The kind of tinnitus that is linked to temporary injury from loud noise will usually subside within a few days (but you accept that it’s just part of going to a loud show).

Naturally, it’s precisely this type of noise damage that, over time, can cause hearing loss to move from temporary (or acute, as they say) to chronic. One concert too many and you might be waiting quite a while for your tinnitus to go away on its own.

Often Times, Tinnitus Doesn’t Just Disappear

If your tinnitus continues for over three months it’s then identified as chronic tinnitus (but you should get it checked by an expert long before that).

Something like 5-15% of people globally have reported symptoms of chronic tinnitus. While there are some known close associations (such as hearing loss, as an example), the causes of tinnitus aren’t yet well understood.

When the triggers of your tinnitus aren’t clear, it usually means that a quick “cure” will be elusive. If your ears have been ringing for over three months and there’s no recognizable cause, there’s a strong chance that the sound will not recede by itself. But if this is your situation, you can safeguard your quality of life and deal with your symptoms with some treatment options (like noise canceling devices and cognitive behavioral therapy).

The Reason For Your Tinnitus is Relevant

It becomes a lot easier to decrease the symptoms of tinnitus when you can identify the fundamental causes. If a bacterial ear infection is, for instance, the reason for your tinnitus, you can revive a healthy ear and clear hearing by managing it with antibiotics.

Here are some likely causes of acute tinnitus:

  • Meniere’s disease (this usually has no cure and is often associated with chronic tinnitus)
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Damage to the eardrum (such as a perforated eardrum)
  • A blockage in the ear or ear canal
  • Loss of hearing (again, this is often associated with chronic tinnitus)

So…Will The Noises in My Ears Stop?

The bottom line is that in most cases, yes, your tinnitus will subside by itself. But the longer it hangs around, 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 convince yourself there’s nothing wrong and hope that the noises will just go away. But there could come a point where your tinnitus begins to become uncomfortable, where it’s difficult to concentrate because the sound is too disruptive. And in those cases, you might want a treatment strategy more thorough than crossing your fingers.

In most situations, however, in fact, throughout most of your life, your tinnitus will normally subside by itself, a normal reaction to a loud environment (and your body’s means of telling you to avoid that situation from now on). Whether that’s acute or chronic tinnitus, well, we’ll only know over time.

 

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