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Is Tinnitus a Permanent Condition or Can It Go Away in Time?

a woman experiencing slight ear discomfort

Tinnitus is the clinical term for when a person experience sounds that are not audible to anyone else. This sound might be in their ears, but it might also be in their head. For many people who experience tinnitus, the foremost question on their mind is whether it is a permanent condition or if it can go away in time.

What is tinnitus?

To answer this question, we must address what tinnitus is. It is not, in fact, a medical condition. Rather, it’s a symptom of several conditions, including hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, ear infections, Meniere’s disease and much more. Your experience of tinnitus can differ dramatically from another person’s. The sound of it might be different, the length of bouts might be different and the frequency of its occurrence might be different, too. To address the main question, the answer is that tinnitus can be temporary or permanent, and it’s important to recognize what increases the risk of developing permanent cases.

Most cases of tinnitus are temporary

Most people will not experience tinnitus for any more than 48 hours. In fact, most cases have an average length of around 16-48 hours. In most of these cases, the symptom will be a result of exposure to dangerous levels of noise, such as a fireworks show, concert or even spending all day in a loud environment, like a crowded restaurant or out in traffic.

The length of your experience with tinnitus can differ, depending on your hearing health history and other factors, like medications you might take. In some cases, it may last for up to two weeks, and be exacerbating by repeated exposure to loud noise.

Temporary tinnitus may be able to become chronic tinnitus. As such, it’s recommended you visit your hearing instrument specialist if you’re worried about your tinnitus, should it last longer than 48 hours.

Cases of permanent tinnitus

As mentioned, there are those who will experience tinnitus as a chronic or permanent symptom. Even in chronic cases, the tinnitus may, at some point, simply go away on its own. But a lot of people will experience it for years.

There are a wide range of causes that can lead to permanent tinnitus. For instance, it is very closely linked with hearing loss, and a person who has hearing loss is more likely to develop tinnitus and vice versa. Head injuries are also linked to tinnitus. They can affect your ears and how they hear and transmit noise, but a traumatic brain injury can also impact how your brain interprets noise signals, too. This may present as tinnitus.

Though rarer than temporary tinnitus, permanent cases still affect millions of individuals. As such, it’s recommended that you address the issue with your hearing instrument specialist as soon as you’re concerned about it becoming chronic.

What can a hearing instrument specialist do for you?

Before you look for any help, it’s important to address the fact that there is no known cure for tinnitus. It’s a symptom that’s caused by a variety of conditions. Sometimes, treating those conditions can resolve tinnitus, but that is not always the case. That said, there are treatments that your hearing instrument specialist can offer. 

There are devices that may able to help you mask the sound of your tinnitus so that it becomes easier to ignore, to habituate to it so that you get used to it. There are external white noise machines that you can set up, for instance, but there are also hearing aids and sound masking devices that offer features that do precisely that.

Managing tinnitus

There are also measures you can take to prevent your tinnitus from getting any worse and to help alleviate the symptoms. They will not work for every single person who experiences tinnitus, but they are worth trying. For instance, finding methods to fight stress can help reduce your blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to bouts of tinnitus.

Protecting your hearing from further exposure to unsafe noise levels is important, as well. If you can avoid those noise levels, that’s for the best. However, your hearing instrument specialist may also be able to help you find good hearing protection that can reduce the level of noise your ears are exposed to.

Get in touch with Better Hearing of Madison County today to learn how your hearing instrument specialist can help you. Call us at (315) 693-3637 today.