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Is Tinnitus A Permanent Condition or Can it Go Away in Time?

a woman with ringing in her ears

Most of us have been affected by tinnitus at some time or another. That persistent ringing in one or both ears that never seems to go away, no matter what we do. It can be heard even when we’re in busy places, but when we’re all alone in a quiet room it can be practically roaring in our ears. It can be distracting at best and at worst prevent us from getting the sleep we need to be healthy and happy. 

But what exactly is tinnitus? Where does it come from? And when we’re affected by it, does it always go away of its own accord or can it be permanent? Here we’ll answer all these questions and tell you all about how you can guard against tinnitus. 

What exactly is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of noise in the inner ear, even though there is nothing creating any noise externally. It is most often heard as a ringing or hissing sound, although it can also be perceived as a roaring or clicking too.

An estimated 50 million Americans are affected by tinnitus, and while it’s commonly experienced by those with hearing loss, but around 50% of people who experience tinnitus have no measurable loss of hearing.

There are two kinds of tinnitus:

  • Subjective Tinnitus: The kind that only the person affected can hear.
  • Objective Tinnitus: This can also be heard by a doctor or hearing instrument specialist when they do an examination. This is less common and is usually caused by blood vessel problems, muscle contractions or issues with the bones in the middle ear.

Is tinnitus temporary or permanent?

It can be both. In many cases tinnitus occurs as a result of a damage to the tiny hairs in your ears that govern your hearing. Therefore, many experience tinnitus when they walk out of a loud concert or night club and onto a quiet street. This kind of tinnitus is only temporary and usually clears completely within 24 hours.

In some cases, however, tinnitus can remain for much longer and won’t go away no matter how much time passes. But fear not, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that can be done about it.

What can be done to prevent or combat tinnitus?

It’s important to remember that tinnitus is the symptom of an underlying problem rather than a problem in and of itself. Addressing the cause is vital if you’re to find a long-term solution to the problem of tinnitus. 

Let’s look at some ways in which you can prevent or treat tinnitus by addressing its causes:

Reduce stress: Stress can lead to high blood pressure, a common cause of tinnitus. Cut back on caffeine and sodium, try and exercise regularly and try mindfulness meditation. It only takes around five minutes every day but can be a real tonic when it comes to reducing stress.

Get your ears checked regularly: Tinnitus can often be caused by a buildup of wax in the inner ear. Get your ears checked and cleaned regularly by a professional. Don’t clean out your own ears and certainly don’t insert long instruments like cotton swabs into the ear. This can create more problems than it solves, pushing wax deeper into the ear canal where it can harden and exacerbate tinnitus.

Invest in ear protection: If you work in a noisy environment or have a hobby that often puts you in noise environments, it’s worth investing in the right protection for your ears. This can prevent the nerve cell damage that leads to tinnitus.

Listen to soft music: Tinnitus can be much worse in quiet environments. Especially if you’re trying to sleep. Try playing soft music at a low volume to mitigate the sound of tinnitus.

Get a hearing instrument fitted: If you’re one of the 50% of people affected by tinnitus who also experiences hearing loss, seeing a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) can make a real difference to your tinnitus. The extra sensory input provided by a hearing aid is often useful in combating tinnitus, and there are many models that emit a frequency that is barely perceptible to the wearer but can actually help to cancel out the ringing and humming of tinnitus.

How we can help

At the Niagara Hearing and Speech Clinic we’re passionate about helping people get the most out of their hearing instruments, making recommendations that are perfectly matched to the needs, lifestyle and budget of every client. If you’d like to know more about how we can help liberate you from distracting and irritating tinnitus, call us today at 905-938-1661.