Signs That Tinnitus is Going Away
Has your ear been ringing for no reason? Are you getting a headache from the buzzing noise inside your ear and have no way to get rid of it? Your problem is quite common with hundreds of people complaining of the same irritating and frankly unpleasant experience. The problem you’re facing is called tinnitus.
Tinnitus is the medical term used to describe general ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing, or even shrieking sounds heard within the ear. Tinnitus can be caused for a number of reasons including reaction to the medication, injury, obstruction of the ear canal, or disease.
Tinnitus gradually goes away in normal cases, however, sometimes it can persist for prolonged periods of time or even can be permanent. But, it can be effectively managed and suppressed overtime. In this article, we’ll explain what tinnitus is, how long does tinnitus last and inform you about the signs that tinnitus is going away.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Tinnitus?
- 2 Causes of Tinnitus:
- 3 The most common causes of tinnitus are listed below:
- 4 Symptoms of Tinnitus:
- 5 Test for Tinnitus:
- 6 Treatment for Tinnitus:
- 7 Managing permanent tinnitus:
- 8 FAQ Regarding Tinnitus:
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the medical condition used to describe the sensation of sound in the head without any external source. It is used to describe a wide range of sounds. These sounds may include whistling, buzzing, hissing, humming, roaring, squealing, etc. The sound might only be heard in one ear or in both ears. The sound can also be intermittent, dull, steady, continuous, or pulsating. The most commonly reported form is a steady, loud, high-pitched ringing.
It can be classified into two categories: subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus. In subjective tinnitus, only the patient himself can hear the noise. And in case of objective tinnitus, the noise can be heard by others. For example, by a doctor using a stethoscope. Again, tinnitus can also be heard more noticeably when there is low background noise, such as at night before going to bed.
Tinnitus is not a disease itself but usually implies the presence of an underlying condition. For example, tinnitus can be caused due to age-related deterioration in hearing, ear injury, or circulatory system disorder. It is commonly seen in people over the age of 55 years and strongly associated with old age and a gradual loss of hearing.
It is not considered a serious health problem, mostly it is just treated as an annoyance. In severe cases, tinnitus can lead to problems such as difficulty concentrating and sleeping, interfering with work, hampering communication, and causing psychological distress. However such extremes are only seen in about 10% of the cases. There is no cure for tinnitus but there are many ways to treat and manage it to a very high degree.
Causes of Tinnitus:
The most common cause of tinnitus is sudden exposure to loud noise. If you’ve ever been to a loud concert and suddenly heard a loud noise while standing beside a speaker, you have most probably experienced this form of tinnitus. This is common among people who work in loud environments. Construction workers, pilots, musicians, etc. are more prone to tinnitus as they are exposed to high levels of noise for a prolonged period of time.
Loud noises generate pressure on the internal ear and may damage your cochlea. The cochlea is an apparatus in your inner ear that is responsible for giving you a sense of balance. It is a small organ, containing minute hairs that move according to your position and movement and give you a sense of balance. Exposure to loud noises may damage these microscopic hairs in the cochlea. If the cochlear apparatus is damaged, sound waves moving through to the ear might trigger false signals from these damaged hairs which your brain interprets as sound. These faulty signals are what you experience as tinnitus. How long tinnitus lasts depends on a number of health conditions. Some conditions might cause tinnitus to persist permanently.
The most common causes of tinnitus are listed below:
- Due to old age – The hearing ability of human beings gradually decreases as age progresses. This hearing loss can cause tinnitus, especially in the elderly. This type of tinnitus is normally seen in people over 55 years of age.
- Loud noises – Exposure to loud noises such as noise from transportation, heavy equipment, loud music, etc. can damage your ears. Sudden exposure to loud noise can cause temporary tinnitus which usually goes away within a short time. But prolonged exposure to loud and harmful levels of noise can cause both short-term and long-term tinnitus which may cause permanent damage to ears and reduce the ability to hear.
- Blockage by Ear wax- Ear Wax naturally protects your ear canals by trapping dirt and preventing the growth of bacteria and infection. But this ear wax should be cleaned at regular intervals. If the accumulation of ear wax becomes excessive, it might hamper the function of the eardrums and cause irritation. This can lead to tinnitus.
- Meniere’s disease – Tinnitus can appear as a symptom of Meniere’s disease. It is a disorder caused by abnormalities of inner ear fluid pressure. This is a disease of the inner ear.
- Temporo-mandibular joint disorders – The temporomandibular joint is a joint between the temporal bone of the side of your head and the mandibular bone which constitutes your jaw. Problems with this joint such as injury can cause tinnitus.
- Head and neck injuries – Injuries, such as to the side of the head or neck trauma can damage the ear. This can lead to tinnitus.
- Traumatic brain injury – Injury involving the brain can cause the areas responsible for auditory reception and the interpretation of sound to be permanently affected. This might cause temporary or permanent subjective tinnitus.
- Tumors or growths – Benign tumors that can develop on the vestibulocochlear nerve may cause the nerve to transmit false signals. These signals may be interpreted by the brain as sound. Such noises are perceived as tinnitus.
- Muscle spasms – Muscles of the inner ear might tense up which can lead to a feeling of fullness in the ear, hearing loss, and sometimes tinnitus. There is no explanation regarding the reason why this happens but it is associated with neurogenic diseases and multiple sclerosis.
- Atherosclerosis – With age or due to obesity and high cholesterol diet, lipids can form on the lining of blood vessels disrupting the flow of blood. If blood vessels close to the ear are affected, then the turbulent blood flow due to obstruction may produce beating sounds. This is called pulsatile tinnitus. Doctors can also hear this using a stethoscope.
- High blood pressure – High blood pressure and hypertension can increase the force of blood flow through arteries and blood vessels. This can increase the level of tinnitus in an individual.
- Due to medication – Certain antibiotics, cancer medications, diuretics, quinine derivatives, antidepressants, and aspirin have been proven to be responsible for making tinnitus worse.
Symptoms of Tinnitus:
Tinnitus symptoms are mostly described as the sensation of noise in the ear without any identifiable source. This phantom noise can vary in pitch from a low roaring to high shrieking. The noise may be ringing, buzzing, clicking, humming, roaring, chirping, screeching, pulsing, etc. Tinnitus may be continuous or it may come and go.
The severity of tinnitus is measured in degrees:
- First degree – The tinnitus is very mild and non-obtrusive and does not impact the affected person.
- Second degree – Tinnitus is mostly compensated for and acclimated to. But it can become disruptive under stress or in unfavorable situations.
- Third-degree – Tinnitus significantly impacts the affected persons in private and professional life. It causes irritability, emotional and psychological issues. The person suffers from disruptions to sleep and concentration, muscle tension, headache, anxiety, and depression.
- Fourth degree – The impact of tinnitus on the affected person is extreme and has a great negative impact on their quality of life. The person is unable to maintain their physical, mental, social, and economic well-being due to the condition.
Test for Tinnitus:
If your tinnitus lasts for more than 3 days, you should visit an ENT doctor for a checkup. Explain your symptoms as elaborately as possible to help determine the possible causes. In addition to the tinnitus test, a hearing test will be conducted to check whether you are suffering from any other auditory problems.
The test normally conducted for tinnitus are:
- Examination of the ear, nose, and neck
- Hearing test
- Test of inner ear noise
- Test of the transfer of sound from the inner ear
- Testing balance
- Objective hearing test
- Blood test
- MRI and CT scan of the skull
- Examination of the temporomandibular joint
The treatment prescribed by doctors for tinnitus relief largely depends on the results of these tests and how well the cause of the noise can be determined.
Treatment for Tinnitus:
Treatment of tinnitus mostly revolves around the management of the underlying condition causing it. By identifying the underlying medical condition, your physician will provide you with an appropriate response like medication, therapy, or even surgery if necessary. Taking the necessary steps to eliminate the underlying condition will automatically eliminate tinnitus as well.
There is no cure for tinnitus. No drug treatment can help get rid of it. But there are tinnitus remedies to minimize the effect it has and also manage it effectively. These treatments include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), using masking devices, Biofeedback and stress management, etc.
These treatments can help to gradually get used to tinnitus and become acclimated to it. This reduces the disruptive effects tinnitus may have in an affected individual. There have been reports of success stories of tinnitus going away by the use of these kinds of treatment.
Managing permanent tinnitus:
Tinnitus usually goes away on its own. But sometimes in case of permanent damage to the ears, tinnitus can be permanent. That doesn’t mean you have to suffer endlessly. Tinnitus is common in the elderly who have reduced hearing ability. It is also common to those who have a history of prolonged exposure to extremely loud noises.
If you are suffering from permanent tinnitus, there are ways you can make your life easier and keep tinnitus under control.
Firstly, you should try to identify what makes your tinnitus worse. There could be various factors that affect you in your day-to-day life. Some people might be susceptible to certain foods, drinks or drugs which make the condition worse. So be aware of what causes your symptoms to worsen. Some possible factors may include caffeinated drinks, alcohol, aspirin, salty foods, etc. Smoking is also responsible for making tinnitus worse. So if you are a smoker, it’s better to quit the habit.
Plan your routine so you have some time to relax. Tinnitus can be triggered due to anxiety and stress. Relaxing and resting play a great role in reducing everyday stress and fatigue. You can relax by practicing yoga, meditation or any of your preferred activities.
Lastly, it’s important to get enough sleep. Tiredness and fatigue cause mental strain, anxiety and increases stress. This can lead to tinnitus gradually getting worse. So plan ahead so that you have enough sleep every day. Also, try to make your sleeping space as comfortable as possible. You may also find playing soothing music or natural sounds helpful.
These are the basic steps you can take to make your life with tinnitus a little easier.
FAQ Regarding Tinnitus:
Q. How long does tinnitus last?
Answer: Tinnitus caused by a sudden loud noise can stay for a few minutes. However, tinnitus caused by auditory problems may last for prolonged periods of time.
Q. How do I know if my tinnitus is going away?
Answer: If you feel like your tinnitus is going away, it means the underlying problem causing it has been resolved. You’ll feel that the ringing is gradually reducing over time.
Q. Does tinnitus slowly go away?
Answer: Regular tinnitus slowly goes away within a few minutes. If your tinnitus does not go away even after an extended period of time, you should contact a physician for advice.
Q. Is tinnitus permanent or temporary?
Answer: Tinnitus can be temporary or permanent depending on the underlying condition causing it.
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