Is Your Tinnitus Temporary?

Ringing in the ear? That's probably a hearing condition commonly referred to as tinnitus. Is it temporary? Find out in this article.

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Is Your Tinnitus Temporary?

Tinnitus - is the term for hearing sounds that come from inside your body rather than outside. Often called "ringing in the ears," you can hear several sounds, including buzzing, humming, and grinding. Many of us have experienced tinnitus.

Many of us think of tinnitus as a stand-alone and direct hearing problem. You don't usually seek help when you don’t often hear it. Sometimes, having a tinnitus isn't generally dangerous but it could be a sign of something else.

Some doctors will ask, how long does your tinnitus last? Was it temporary or permanent? How often do you hear them? This eventually depends on the cause of your hearing change and any other symptoms you may be experiencing. While most cases of tinnitus are typical and treatable, some are more profound and demand an audiologist's help.

How long does tinnitus usually last?

Many cases of tinnitus result from sudden exposure to loud noise. (We measure sound in decibels.) A typical exchange in a quiet space would be about 50-60 decibels. This level is easy to cope with.

A gunshot is about 140 decibels. Most of us would find this highly discomforting. But loud noises aren't just uneasy; they harm our inner ears.

Even a quick, loud noise can induce tinnitus, but this will usually go away fast. You could extend your symptoms if the loud noises are extended, like in concerts or large events. If you are regularly exposed to deafening noises, perhaps at work, your symptoms could become permanent.

Can tinnitus be permanent?

Tinnitus can be permanent. The best way to understand how long your tinnitus will last is to understand the cause. If the reason is temporary, like loud noises or ear infections, likely the tinnitus will also be momentary. However, your tinnitus may be more long-lasting or permanent if you are experiencing a long-term illness affecting the ear, such as Meniere's disease. If your tinnitus is due to aging, it may also be permanent.

But that doesn't mean that it isn't treatable. You can even manage permanent tinnitus with help from an audiologist.

Some Temporary Causes of Tinnitus

  • Ear infection - a prevalent cause of tinnitus is an ear infection. It can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection impacting the inner ear. Your ears can swell, and fluid will build up. Some infections need treatment with antibiotics, while others need rest. Ear infections can be frequent and chronic. If you get recurring outbreaks of tinnitus, you should consult with your audiologist.
  • Medications- Particular medicines modify our blood flow and pressure, which can induce temporary tinnitus. Other medications, such as ototoxic medicines, can even cause tinnitus, but it usually disappears as soon as you stop taking medicine.
  • Earwax- not everyone gets waxy buildup, but some undergo regular tinnitus episodes due to wax. Waxy ears depend on where you spend your time, your general health, how often you use earphones and how you clean your ears. Some of us are just more inclined to excessive earwax than others. Too much earwax buildup can also cause tinnitus. If you often experience it, consult with a general practitioner or an ENT.
  • Medical conditions- cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other disorders can all provoke tinnitus. How long this lasts will depend on your circumstances, but it will usually get better if you can fully handle your symptoms or fully recuperate.
  • Perforated eardrums- are often caused by changes in air pressure, especially when flying, or exposure to loud noises or infections. As well as tinnitus, other symptoms include fluid leakage and earache. Perforated eardrums usually recover nicely, and your tinnitus should go away soon. We recommend you see an audiologist if an infection is present.

When to visit an Audiologist

You don't need to panic if you are usually exposed to loud noise, and your tinnitus passes quickly. If the cause of your tinnitus isn't clear, or it doesn't seem to go away, or you have other signs which may indicate an infection or eardrum impairment, you should make an appointment with an audiologist to receive proper advise on treatment options.

If you have any questions, want to find out more, or book a consultation, get in touch with The Listening Lab Singapore.

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