You just can’t get away from that ringing in your ears. That high pitched buzz in your ear has been irritating you since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t gone away. You recognize the sound is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to question exactly how long lasting tinnitus usually is.
Tinnitus can be brought on by damage to the stereocilia in your ears (the air oscillations that your ears convert into sound, are sensed by these tiny hairs). Generally, too much overly loud noise is the cause. That’s why when you’re seated next to a roaring jet engine, eating at a loud restaurant, or attending a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
Under Typical Scenarios, How Long Does Tinnitus Persist?
There’s no cure for tinnitus. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ever go away. How long your tinnitus persists will depend on a wide variety of factors, such as the primary cause of your tinnitus and your overall hearing health.
But if you just arrived home from a noisy day of traveling and you find your ears buzzing, you can generally expect your tinnitus to go away in a day or two. On average, tinnitus will last 16 to 48 hours. But it’s also not uncommon for symptoms to linger, often for as long as two weeks. Further exposure to loud sounds could also cause tinnitus to flare up again, essentially resetting the clock.
It’s usually suggested that you consult a specialist if your tinnitus persists and particularly if your tinnitus is detracting from your quality of life.
What Causes Permanent Tinnitus?
Usually, tinnitus is short-lived. But in some cases it can be long-lasting. Particularly when the cause of tinnitus is something out of the ordinary either in terms of origin or in terms of severity. Here are some examples:
- Hearing loss: Typically, hearing loss and tinnitus are joined at the hip. So, whatever the cause of your hearing loss is, you could also find yourself developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus alongside it.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The majority of the processing of sound happens in the brain. When those processors begin to misfire, as a result of traumatic brain trauma, tinnitus can be the outcome.
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are ringing after attending one rock concert, think of how they’ll feel after several rock concerts a week or if you’re a musician who plays live shows and practices all day. Frequent exposure to loud noises can cause permanent hearing injury, including tinnitus.
Temporary tinnitus is far more common than lasting tinnitus. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Americans each year.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
You will want to get relief as soon as possible regardless of whether your tinnitus is long term or short term. Despite the fact that there’s no cure for tinnitus, there are certain things you can do to reduce symptoms (however long they may last):
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): If you can’t avoid loud environments, then safeguarding your hearing is the next best option. (And, really, whether you suffer from tinnitus or not, you need to use hearing protection.)
- Steer clear of loud noises. Attending another concert, jumping on another plane, or turning up the volume on your earpods another notch may prolong your symptoms or double down on their severity.
- Try to remain calm: Maybe it sounds somewhat… abstract, but staying calm can really help keep your tinnitus under control, mostly because increased blood pressure can induce tinnitus flare-ups.
- Find a way to cover up the sound: You can sometimes drown out the sound and get a good nights sleep by using some source of white noise including a fan or humidifier.
Regrettably, none of these practices will cure permanent tinnitus. But reducing and controlling your symptoms can be equally important.
When Will Your Tinnitus go Away?
In the majority of cases, though, your tinnitus will subside without you having to do anything about it. Your hearing should return to normal within 16 to 48 hours. Nevertheless, if your tinnitus persists, you’ll want to look for a solution. Discovering a workable treatment is the best way to finally get some relief. Get your hearing tested if you think you have hearing loss or tinnitus.