Tinnitus is an extremely common condition. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly 15% of the general public (over 50 million Americans) experience some form of the condition. That’s a lot of people struggling with the phantom noise! Is there a cure for this aggravating affliction? Is tinnitus curable?
Will the Tinnitus Go Away?
Tinnitus can be unpredictable, appearing and disappearing spontaneously. How long your tinnitus is going to last will depend on the primary cause and your overall hearing health.
For instance, if you find yourself experiencing tinnitus after a noisy day of air travel, your symptoms should subside in up to a few days (16 – 48 hours on average).
This might be longer, however, and if you are exposed to another bout of loud noise, it could be retriggered.
Sometimes tinnitus is chronic and irreversible. If this is the case, it is largely down to the origin and severity of your symptoms.
How Do I Know Tinnitus is Permanent?
A few factors might mean your tinnitus is permanent, such as:
- Hearing loss – tinnitus and hearing loss are closely linked. If you are diagnosed with hearing loss, this goes some way in explaining your tinnitus.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)– if damage occurs in the brain where the sound is processed, this can lead to permanent tinnitus.
- Exposure to loud noise – repeat exposure to loud noise can cause irreversible ear damage. If you frequently listen to loud music or attend noisy events or workplaces, this may have caused your symptoms.
Sometimes only time will tell if your tinnitus is permanent, or it might seem permanent and then go away on its own.
Visiting an audiologist and chatting through your risk factors and symptoms will provide information on which to base further tests.
If your tests reveal that your tinnitus is due to a known cause of permanent tinnitus, you will be advised that this is also likely to be the case in your situation.
Should I See a Doctor for Ringing in My Ears?
If your tinnitus persists for more than 48 hours, you’ll want to see a doctor about your symptoms. They’ll be able to conduct a medical examination or refer you to a specialist for a comprehensive hearing test.
This will tell you information such as whether your tinnitus is linked to hearing loss and noise damage, and whether it is likely to be permanent.
Tests usually include an audiological exam, a movement test, and occasionally an imaging test.
Once the cause of your tinnitus has been determined, your doctor will talk to you about your treatment options.
Is Tinnitus Curable?
There are currently no FDA-approved medications to specifically treat tinnitus, nor is there a cure with sufficient scientific validation. For the time being, tinnitus is not curable in the traditional sense.
Nevertheless, there are treatment options to ease the psychological strain of tinnitus, helping patients to ignore their symptoms.
Some people find success using certain medications to treat the stress and anxiety caused by their tinnitus. These include tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline) and alprazolam (Xanax).
Other treatment options include hearing aids (as they can amplify the sounds you want to hear, distracting you from the unwanted sounds), or tinnitus masking or noise suppression devices. These can be worn in the ear like a hearing aid and create a constant signal or tonal beats to compete with the ringing in your ears, drawing your attention away from the tinnitus.
Tinnitus sound therapy (a method using habituation to retrain your brain’s way of interpreting tinnitus) and tinnitus retraining therapy (which uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in combination with a masking device to help you learn to ignore your tinnitus) have also helped people manage their symptoms.
It is best to stay away from over-the-counter ‘tinnitus remedies’. These products often make misleading “tinnitus is curable!” claims and have no scientific evidence in support of their efficacy.
For a full list of tinnitus treatments and remedies, check out the articles below:
The information in this guide has been written using the following reliable sources:
https://www.kinghearing.com, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com, https://www.mayoclinic.org, https://www.webmd.com, https://www.ata.org, https://www.healthyhearing.com