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How Long Does Tinnitus Last

Tinnitus occurs when you hear persistent ringing, buzzing, or whooshing in one or both ears without external noise. People who experience tinnitus report temporary or constant symptoms. Either way, this condition has been bothersome for 7% of over 9 million Canadian adults with tinnitus.

One of the most common questions people with tinnitus ask is how long it lasts. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. The duration of tinnitus depends heavily on the underlying cause and the course of treatment. This article discusses how long tinnitus lasts and how to tell it’s gone. We’ll also explore ways to manage tinnitus and when to see a doctor.

Man bothered by tinnitus sounds

Duration Depends on the Cause

Tinnitus symptoms can come and go, lasting for minutes or hours. Conversely, it can also be chronic, meaning it lasts for months or years. Loud noises, ear infections, and even stress can trigger tinnitus. In other cases, tinnitus can be persistent and never fully disappear. Let’s distinguish these two below.

Tinnitus Can Be Temporary

Tinnitus can be a symptom of easily managed conditions like middle ear infections or earwax buildup. Once treated with antibiotics or ear wax removal in Toronto, the tinnitus often disappears alongside the underlying causes.

This is particularly true for temporary hearing loss caused by loud noise exposure. Once your ears recover, the tinnitus usually goes away as well. Temporary tinnitus symptoms usually go away on their own within 16 to 48 hours on average.

Tinnitus Can Be Chronic

While temporary tinnitus is a common occurrence, there are also cases of persistent tinnitus, where the ringing or buzzing sounds become a long-term issue. Permanent tinnitus occurs when the root cause is far from ordinary. Unlike short-term tinnitus with clear causes, persistent tinnitus can have more complex origins and damage to the inner ear, including:

  • Age-related hearing loss

  • Head or neck injuries

  • Noise-induced hearing loss

  • Repeated exposure to loud noises

  • Certain medications (like cancer drugs)

  • Traumatic Brain Trauma (TBT)

Additionally, underlying health conditions like Ménière’s disease or high blood pressure can contribute to chronic tinnitus. High doses of anti-inflammatory drugs may also cause mild tinnitus. Sometimes, the exact cause remains a mystery.

This can be frustrating and concerning but know that there are ways to manage even persistent tinnitus symptoms.

How Can You Tell How Long Your Tinnitus Will Last?

The underlying cause and symptoms usually determine how long tinnitus might last. Here are a few clues that might indicate your tinnitus is temporary:

  • Recent exposure to loud sound: Did you recently attend a loud concert or work in a noisy environment?

  • Other symptoms: Do you have a middle ear infection (earache, fever) or ear canal blockage (feeling of fullness)?

  • How long it’s lasted: Temporary tinnitus usually resolves within a few days to weeks.

If your tinnitus persists beyond a couple of weeks, or if you experience other unusual symptoms like dizziness or hearing loss, you could be dealing with long-term tinnitus.

Tinnitus lingers and worsens if you’re struggling from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Before the situation gets out of hand, seek professional help.

An audiologist for tinnitus can perform a thorough hearing evaluation to identify the underlying cause of your tinnitus and recommend appropriate hearing protection or treatment options. An accurate diagnosis can ultimately help your tinnitus to improve over time.

See an Audiologist

A definitive cure for tinnitus remains elusive, but managing tinnitus is possible. If you experience chronic symptoms of tinnitus or even simply finding it bothersome, visit an audiology clinic in Toronto for a personalized plan.

They possess specialized knowledge to pinpoint the root cause of your tinnitus, whether it stems from middle ear infections, noise exposure, or underlying health concerns. This diagnosis is paramount in determining the most effective course of action.

For mild tinnitus, pointing out the cause and implementing healthy lifestyle choices can be sufficient in keeping their symptoms under control. In other cases, your audiologist might recommend exploring the use of a hearing aid.

Hearing aids can be particularly advantageous for those whose tinnitus is linked to hearing loss. By amplifying external sounds, hearing aids can effectively mask the perception of tinnitus, making it less intrusive.

Meanwhile, ear doctors may consider additional treatment options for people experiencing severe tinnitus. These could encompass:

  • Sound therapy utilizing white noise machines

  • Tinnitus maskers to generate external sounds and reduce tinnitus perception

  • Counseling techniques to manage the emotional and psychological effects of tinnitus

No specific treatment can cure tinnitus, but management treatments exist to help. An audiologist is your trusted resource for navigating these complexities. Schedule a consultation to discuss your unique situation and explore the various treatment options available to help you achieve relief.

How Do You Know It’s Going Away

Tinnitus may usually subside by itself. In most cases, the common indication that it’s going away is when you start to hear sounds normally. You might notice that external sounds become clearer, or that conversations seem easier to follow. Additionally, the tinnitus itself might become less noticeable over time. It may decrease in volume or even happen less frequently.

Here are signs that your tinnitus might be going away.

Reduced Duration

The tinnitus episodes become shorter or happen less frequently throughout the day.

Less Bothersome

The tinnitus no longer disrupts your daily life or sleep as much. It becomes easier to ignore or fades into the background.

Improved Sleep

If tinnitus is affecting your sleep quality, you might notice you’re sleeping more soundly and feeling more rested.

Reduced Pressure

Sometimes, tinnitus can be accompanied by a feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear. As the tinnitus improves, this pressure sensation might also lessen.

Overall Mood Improvement

Tinnitus can take a toll on your emotional well-being. If it’s going away, you might experience a general improvement in mood and a reduction in stress or anxiety related to the tinnitus.

These signs are good indications, but tinnitus can be tricky. It’s always best to consult a healthcare professional if you’re unsure. They can monitor your progress and provide guidance specific to your situation.

Conclusion

Tinnitus affects millions of people and the duration of symptoms varies greatly. Some experience temporary tinnitus after loud noises or ear infections, others experience chronic tinnitus. The key to managing tinnitus effectively is to identify the underlying cause. Consult an audiologist for a proper diagnosis and discuss treatment options to significantly improve your hearing health and overall quality of life.