The ringing just won’t subside. That high pitched ringing in your ear has been irritating you ever since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. You recognize the noise is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to wonder exactly how long lasting tinnitus usually is.
Tinnitus can be caused by damage to the stereocilia in your ears (the air vibrations which your ears turn into sound, are sensed by these little hairs). That damage is typically the result of overly loud sound. That’s why you notice tinnitus most often after, as an example, going to a concert, eating at a loud restaurant, or being seated near a deafening jet engine while you’re taking a trip.
Under Normal Circumstances, How Long Will Tinnitus Persist?
There’s no cure for tinnitus. But tinnitus normally doesn’t last indefinitely. There will be a wide variety of factors that will influence how long your tinnitus will last, like your general health and the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
But if you notice your ears buzzing after a noisy day of traveling, a day or two should be enough for you to notice your tinnitus going away. Usually, tinnitus will persist for 16 to 48 hours. But it’s also not uncommon for symptoms to linger, often for as much as two weeks. And tinnitus will come back if you are exposed to loud noise again.
If tinnitus lingers and is impacting your quality of life, you need to consult a specialist.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Irreversible?
In most cases, tinnitus is short-lived. But that means it can be permanent. When the root cause is not mundane that’s particularly true When it comes to severity and origin. Some illustrations are as follows:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Much of the processing of sound happens in the brain. When those processors begin to misfire, because of traumatic brain trauma, tinnitus can be the outcome.
- Hearing loss: Frequently, hearing loss and tinnitus are joined at the hip. So, no matter what causes your hearing loss, you could also find yourself developing (or noticing) irreversible tinnitus along with it.
- Repeated exposure: After one rock concert, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but continued exposure will lead to far worse consequences. Continued exposure to loud noises can lead to permanent hearing injury, including tinnitus.
Temporary tinnitus is far more common than lasting tinnitus. But there are still millions of Americans every year who are treated for permanent, or chronic, tinnitus symptoms.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
Whether your tinnitus is short term or long term, you may want to get relief as quickly as you can. There isn’t a cure for tinnitus but you can do some things to minimize the symptoms (however long they may last):
- Find a way to mask the sound: Sometimes, using a white noise machine (such as a fan or humidifier) can help you mask the noise of tinnitus and, thus, ignore the symptoms (and, you know, get a restful night’s sleep in the process).
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): The next option, if you can’t steer clear of loud situations, is to wear ear protection. (And, really, whether you have tinnitus or not, you need to use hearing protection.)
- Avoid loud noises. Attending another concert, hopping on another plane, or turning the volume on your television up another notch could prolong your symptoms or double down on their severity.
- Try to remain calm: Maybe it sounds a little… abstract, but keeping calm can really help keep your tinnitus under control, mostly because increases in blood flow can stimulate tinnitus flare-ups.
To be sure, if you have permanent tinnitus, none of these strategies will cure your tinnitus. But diminishing and controlling your symptoms can be equally important.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Subsides?
Your tinnitus, in most circumstances, will go away by itself. Your hearing should return to normal within 16 to 48 hours. However, you will want to find a solution if your tinnitus persists. The sooner you find a treatment that works, the sooner you can experience relief. Get your hearing tested if you think you have tinnitus or hearing loss.