Many patients that we work with initially come to us with similar questions regarding the permanence of tinnitus. Three of the most frequently asked questions are: (1) Is my tinnitus permanent if it’s still around after three months?; (2) Will my tinnitus ever go away?; (3) When is tinnitus permanent? It’s not hard to see why patients typically ask these questions, as tinnitus often arises when we least expect it and can reach startling intensity, especially early on. Luckily, almost all patients are capable of reaching a point where their tinnitus no longer bothers them.
Question #1: Is my tinnitus permanent if it’s still around after three months?
While three months can feel like a long time to be dealing with most other health conditions, rest assured that tinnitus habituation typically occurs over a longer timeline. The first three months of tinnitus are typically known as the acute phase, and while there is a chance that one’s tinnitus will improve over this period, most improvements are typically made over the span of six to 18 months following the first efforts at managing tinnitus. Additionally, it’s important to remember that habituation roughly follows a bell curve; some patients habituate with only three months of tinnitus therapy, whereas others habituate beyond the 18 month mark.
Three months also serves as an important benchmark. Generally, if a patient’s tinnitus hasn’t improved following a three month period, it’s advised to step up treatment and invest more time and energy into various tools and techniques. So if you’re still suffering from tinnitus after three months, don’t get discouraged. Instead, use this as an opportunity to either consult an audiologist and begin a tinnitus therapy regime, or commit more of your energy to your current tinnitus therapy regime.
Question #2: Will my tinnitus ever go away?
Tinnitus can absolutely go away! Generally, the patients who immediately seek out treatment following the onset of tinnitus are the ones who are able to habituate the quickest, as their tinnitus hasn’t had the opportunity to imprint itself in their mind and body.
That said, it’s important to remember that there are many subtypes of tinnitus, with some subtypes more persistent than others. Thus, while some subtypes of tinnitus might not completely go away, patients can still reach a point where their tinnitus is at such a low intensity that it no longer affects their life.
The tinnitus subtypes that are the easiest to get rid of are those with somatic or sensory causes, such as those related to jaw or neck issues or induced by stress. Still, chasing a goal of “golden silence” can induce frustration and often cause treatment progress to stall out. Ultimately, the goal of any tinnitus treatment regimen is to reach a point where your tinnitus is as low as possible and no longer has an effect on your daily life.
Question #3: When is tinnitus permanent?
For the most part, all patients are capable of reaching a stage where tinnitus volume has declined and no longer poses any annoyance or stress. By implementing various tools and techniques like sound therapy, meditation, and holistic wellness, patients can habituate their brain and thereby reduce perception of tinnitus.
For some patients, there will still be a little tinnitus present in very quiet settings, even after successful habituation. For other patients — especially those who experience an intense spike of tinnitus — there is the possibility of restoring one’s perception to a time from before when there was no tinnitus.
Unfortunately, this truth can prompt negative thinking for some patients, who may then develop a greater awareness and fixation on their tinnitus. This only makes tinnitus worse, so it’s important to avoid negative thinking, and to instead adopt a positive orientation towards habituation and wellness instead of worrying over what can’t be controlled.
It’s also important to remember that there’s no hard-set rule or law on when and how tinnitus can improve or change. Tinnitus can get better at any time or place, so long as one is focused on positive thinking and habituation and not overly concerned with reaching a state where tinnitus has completely gone away. It’s still possible to live one’s life and enjoy the smallest moments and sensations regardless of tinnitus permanence.
What To Do Next For Tinnitus
At Treble Health, we know the importance of having a comprehensive approach to tinnitus management. That includes neuroplasticity, sound therapy, and proper medical tests. We put together a consumer guide to help you master tinnitus management so you can improve tinnitus once and for all. Click here to get the free Tinnitus Guide: 2022 Edition.
Want to speak with an expert audiologist about your options for tinnitus treatment instead? At the tap of a finger, you can schedule a free Treble Health Tinnitus Consultation today! You’ll be connected with a real audiologist, not a salesperson, and there is no obligation or commitment.