Does Tinnitus Go Away?

When patients hear a ringing or other unusual noise in their ears, and they are pretty sure that it is not coming from an external source, they can get apprehensive about the state of their hearing. If you do cursory research on tinnitus, the stories can be concerning, especially if you visit some forums where people discuss the physical and mental challenges of the condition. However, these are more often the exception rather than the rule.

Mild tinnitus may cause significant anxiety in patients, waiting for what they believe is inevitable – a life of hearing loss complicated by unbearable noise. Fortunately, even when tinnitus is permanent, most patients are not affected to the extent that they can’t enjoy their lives as usual. Eventually, they will get used to the noise and continue with their lives. This process can take up to a year.  For a small number of patients, however, tinnitus can be highly disruptive, even leading to anxiety and depression.  This is when more advanced coping strategies and devices can be necessary to help  them adapt and normalize their daily lives.

Will tinnitus go away?

To answer this, it’s essential to know the causes. There are some reversible causes, while other times, there’s no underlying disease or condition other than age- or trauma-related hearing loss. Tinnitus is defined as “sound in the absence of sound.” You may wonder why tinnitus occurs with hearing loss. The brain is used to auditory inputs, and when these are blunted or eliminated, it may create noise to compensate.  This is one reason why tinnitus is typically louder in quiet environments, such as at night or first thing in the morning.

The sometimes reversible causes of tinnitus are many and varied; as such, how soon it goes away ultimately depends on how quickly and successfully these underlying causes can be treated. For example, earwax or any other ear canal blockage can cause reversible hearing loss, which may worsen tinnitus. Similarly, prescribed and illicit ototoxic medications can cause temporary hearing loss while the patient takes them. Disorders of the facial blood vessels near the ear can cause pulsatile (matching the heartbeat) tinnitus, while mental health issues like anxiety, chronic stress, and depression can cause or worsen tinnitus.  Anything that affects brain chemistry can have an impact on tinnitus.

How Long Will I Have Tinnitus?

For many cases stated above, when the underlying issue is corrected, tinnitus may go away immediately or shortly afterward.

Tinnitus caused by loud noises usually goes away within hours or days. For some, the tinnitus may remain for several months.

Physiological and mechanical issues causing tinnitus must be resolved, often leading to rapid relief after medical treatment or surgery.

Ultimately, most cases of tinnitus are temporary and resolve themselves in time. However, speaking to an ENT such as Dr. Boger is crucial to understand the causes and potential treatments that may help you.

What if Tinnitus Doesn't Going Away?

Millions of people live with mild to moderate tinnitus in the US. It’s important that you do not delay in seeking care from a qualified Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist like Dr. Boger to try and get to the bottom of what may be causing the issue.  Obtaining a hearing test, which is easily done in the office, is of paramount importance.

If tinnitus is so intrusive that it impacts daily activities and/or quality of sleep, evaluation of your condition is essential.  Ultimately, you do not have to live through this condition without help; there are effective coping strategies. Even celebrities like William Shatner have discussed their tinnitus struggles; in his case, a white noise hearing aid was part of the solution.

Patients are advised to avoid self-diagnosis. And don’t be concerned about the prospect of anything less than a whole and normal life living with tinnitus. We encourage you to visit us and learn more, get a proper diagnosis, and understand your tinnitus treatment options.