Is Tinnitus a Permanent Condition or Can It go Away in Time?
Tinnitus is what we call the symptom of when a person hears sounds that are exclusively audible to them, whether in their ears or in their heads. It is a symptom that is not fully understood because it can be caused by a range of different conditions. For instance, it is linked to hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, ear infections, Meniere’s disease and much more.
As such, people’s experience of tinnitus can vary dramatically, from the frequency and sound of the tinnitus right down to how long it lasts for. As such, a lot of people wonder whether tinnitus is a permanent condition or whether it goes away in time. The answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no to either, so let’s take a closer look at it.
Is tinnitus usually permanent or temporary?
Some people experience long-term, permanent tinnitus. However, in most cases it is temporary. Temporary tinnitus is often caused by noise exposure, whether that means spending all day in a noisy office or a more concentrated experience, like being in a very loud concert. For cases like these, the tinnitus is almost always temporary and will disappear within two days. In fact, the average length of a bout of tinnitus is 16-48 hours.
However, this can differ from person to person. Hearing health history and other factors can influence your experience of tinnitus, so temporary cases can sometimes last as long as two weeks. Further exposure to loud noise can cause it to flare up again.
There is evidence that temporary tinnitus can become chronic, so if your tinnitus lasts longer than 48 hours, or if you’re simply concerned about it in general, making an appointment with your audiologist is recommended.
What risks can make tinnitus permanent?
Sometimes, the causes of tinnitus are outside of the usual temporary exposure to loud noises. There are several conditions that can potentially contribute to permanent tinnitus, but here are a few that are particularly prevalent:
- Hearing loss: Is very closely associated with tinnitus. As such, you may develop permanent or chronic tinnitus alongside said hearing loss.
- Prolonged exposure: To loud noises, or repeated exposure, can do increasing permanent hearing damage, which can include tinnitus.
- Physical injuries to head: Which lead to traumatic brain injury can affect not just how you hear sound through your ears but also how the brain processes sound, which can lead to an experience of tinnitus.
While permanent hearing loss is less prevalent than the temporary kind, it still affects millions of people. As such, it’s recommended that you see an audiologist as soon as possible if the potential causes of your tinnitus lie outside the usual.
Can tinnitus be cured or treated?
There is no cure for tinnitus. Because it’s not a specific condition, but rather a symptom that has a range of causes, there can be no specific cure. However, there are different ways to treat it and it is possible that even chronic cases of tinnitus will go away. To offer yourself the best chances of getting your tinnitus to go away, you want to avoid risk as best as possible.
First, protect yourself from loud noises and environments. Avoiding them where possible is always the best response, but if you simply can’t avoid loud noises, talk to your audiologist about getting the right hearing protection to suit your needs. From earmuffs to custom-made earplugs, you can lower your noise exposure drastically with the right protection.
Staying calm can help, too. Experiencing tinnitus can be rather stressful, and finding the means to relax can help, as it can lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to flare-ups of tinnitus, after all.
Lastly, your audiologist can help you with devices that can help you mask the sound or habituate it. With a white noise machine, you may be able to drown out the noise of tinnitus, especially at night, helping you ignore it and get a better night’s sleep. There are also hearing aids and similar devices that have features that can match and mask your tinnitus throughout the day.
When should you talk to an audiologist about tinnitus?
If your tinnitus lasts more than 48 hours, it’s recommended you get in touch with the team at Gavin Audiology and Hearing Aids. We can take a closer look at your hearing health and recommend treatments if necessary. Otherwise, call at 914-631-8777 if you have tinnitus that is caused by something other than temporary exposure to loud noises and we will help.