Hearing Health Blog

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 typical response: pretend everything’s good. You go through your day the same as usual: you do your grocery shopping, you make dinner, you attempt to have a discussion with your friends. While at the same time you try your best to ignore that ringing. Because you’re convinced of one fact: your tinnitus will fade away on its own.

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

This situation happens to other people as well. Tinnitus can be a tricky little affliction, 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 Disappear by Itself

Around the globe, almost everybody has had a bout of tinnitus because it’s very common. In virtually all cases, tinnitus is essentially temporary and will eventually go away by itself. A rock concert is a good example: you go to your local arena to see your favorite band and you notice, when you get home, that there is a ringing in your ears.

Within a couple of days the type of tinnitus associated with damage from loud noise will usually disappear (and you chalk it up to the cost of seeing your favorite band on stage).

Over time loss of hearing can go from temporary or “acute” to permanent or “chronic” because of this exact kind of injury. One concert too many and you may be waiting quite a while for your tinnitus to recede on its own.

When Tinnitus Doesn’t Seem to be Disappearing on its own

If your tinnitus doesn’t subside (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, suggest that you should wait that long to consult with a specialist about lingering ringing, buzzing, or thumping in your ears).

Around 5-15% of people around the world have reported indications of chronic tinnitus. While there are some known close associations (like hearing loss, for example), the causes of tinnitus aren’t yet well understood.

Often, a quick cure for tinnitus will be evasive if the causes aren’t evident. There is a good chance that your tinnitus won’t go away on its own if you have been hearing the ringing for over three months. In those instances, there are treatment possibilities available (like cognitive behavioral therapy or noise-canceling devices) that can help you control symptoms and protect your quality of life.

The Reason For Your Tinnitus is Significant

It becomes much simpler to decrease the symptoms of tinnitus when you are able to identify the fundamental causes. As an example, if your tinnitus is created by a persistent, bacterial ear infection, treatment with an antibiotic will tend to solve both issues, resulting in a healthy ear and clear hearing.

Some causes of acute tinnitus could consist of:

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

The Big Question…Will my Tinnitus Ever Subside?

The bottom line is that in most cases, yes, your tinnitus will subside 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 feel that if you simply disregard it should go away on its own. But there could come a point where your tinnitus begins to become irritating, where it’s tough to focus because the sound is too distracting. In those circumstances, crossing your fingers may not be the comprehensive treatment plan you require.

Most of the time tinnitus is simply the body’s response to loud noise that may be damaging over time and will go away by itself. Whether that’s chronic or acute tinnitus, well, we’ll only know over time.

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