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Is Tinnitus a Permanent Condition or Can it go Away in Time?

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a woman experiencing ear discomfort

Tinnitus is a very common ear health issue that affects around 15 percent of the population. It is characterized by a ringing sound in the ears, which can range from very mild to severe, constant noise. Some people may also experience clicking, humming or the sound of their own heartbeat. Tinnitus can have a big impact on your everyday life as it makes it difficult to concentrate on work, sleep and engage in conversation. If you are experiencing tinnitus, it is always a good idea to see an ENT doctor and seek treatment. 

What causes tinnitus?

There are a wide range of different things that can cause tinnitus, which means that the condition will not always go away in time and you may need treatment to alleviate the symptoms. These are some of the most common causes of tinnitus: 

Hearing loss

As you age, you may experience some hearing loss. When this happens, the symptoms of tinnitus become more pronounced because they are not masked by external sounds. If your tinnitus is becoming more noticeable, you should have your hearing checked by an ENT doctor to ensure that there is not an underlying hearing loss issue. 

Loud noises 

The hair cells inside your ear can be damaged by prolonged exposure to loud noises, and this can lead to tinnitus. This is very common in people that listen to loud music through headphones or work in a loud environment, like a factory floor. Wearing ear protection can help to prevent this but the damage may already be done if you do not take the right precautions. 

Ear infections 

If you have an ear infection, you may experience some of the symptoms of tinnitus. The symptoms should be temporary but it is important that you have the underlying cause of the ear infection treated by an ENT doctor. 

Excess earwax 

A build-up of earwax over time can also cause tinnitus. If you see an ENT doctor, they can help you to remove this excess earwax and you should notice a reduction in your symptoms. If you do not, that is a sign that something else is causing the tinnitus. 

Perforated eardrum

Tinnitus can also be caused by a perforated eardrum, which can occur for a number of reasons. Exposure to loud noises, a change in pressure caused by flying or diving, and infections are all common causes of a perforated eardrum. If you suspect that your eardrum may be damaged, you should seek the advice of an ENT doctor. Once your eardrum is healed, you should notice a reduction in the symptom of tinnitus. 

Blood vessel conditions 

If you can hear your own heartbeat very clearly, this could be a sign that your tinnitus is caused by a blood vessel condition like high blood pressure or a blockage in the blood vessels. It is important that you seek medical advice because these issues can cause more serious health problems. 

Will tinnitus go away in time?

If you have tinnitus, it is likely that you need to seek the advice of an ENT doctor because, in most cases, it will not simply pass on its own. Sometimes, you may experience tinnitus as a result of short-term exposure to loud noises and it will improve after a few days. However, there is usually an underlying cause that needs to be dealt with by a doctor. 

Tinnitus that is caused by ear infections, a build-up of earwax or perforated eardrums will go away but only if you seek treatment to deal with the underlying cause. This may be taking antibiotics to clear up infections or having your ears syringed to remove excess wax. Once the root cause is dealt with, you will notice that the tinnitus goes away. 

If you have a blood vessel issue, taking steps to reduce your blood pressure and remove blockages in the blood vessels will also reduce your tinnitus symptoms. 

However, if the tinnitus is caused by damage to the ears from exposure to loud noises or hearing loss, your tinnitus may be a long-term problem for you. If this is the case, there are ways to manage the symptoms. 

There are wearable devices, similar to a hearing aid, that can help to mask the ringing or humming sounds and make them less noticeable. Medications can help in some cases as well, but there are side effects so they are not used very often. 

In the majority of cases, tinnitus will not simply pass on its own. It is important that you see an ENT doctor so they can identify the root cause of your tinnitus and deal with it. If there is not a treatable cause, they will be able to help you to find ways to manage the symptoms. 

If you are experiencing tinnitus, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates today. You can reach us on the following numbers: 

  • Sylva: 828-586-7474
  • Franklin: 828-524-5599
  • Murphy: 828-835-1014
  • New Asheville: 828-458-8100