The ringing just won’t subside. It’s been more than two days and you can still hear that unpleasant ringing in your ears. You know the noise is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to question just how long lasting tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be caused by injury to the stereocilia inside your ears (the air vibrations which your ears convert into sound, are sensed by these tiny hairs). Usually, too much excessively loud sound is the cause. That’s why you notice tinnitus most often after, as an example, going to a concert, spending time in a loud restaurant, or sitting next to a roaring jet engine while you’re taking a trip.
Under Normal Circumstances, How Long Will Tinnitus Persist?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ever go away. There will be a large number of factors that will establish how long your tinnitus will last, such as the primary cause of your tinnitus and your general hearing health.
But if you notice your ears buzzing after a noisy day of traveling, you can normally expect your tinnitus to fade away in a day or two. 16 to 48 hours typically is how long tinnitus will persist. But in some cases, symptoms can last as much as a couple of weeks. Additional exposure to loud sounds could also cause tinnitus to flare up again, effectively resetting the clock.
It’s usually recommended that you see a specialist if your tinnitus persists and specifically if your tinnitus is detracting from your quality of life.
What Causes Lasting Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is normally temporary. But in some cases it can be irreversible. When the cause is not mundane that’s particularly true either with respect to origin or in terms of intensity. Some examples are as follows:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The brain is where the majority of sound is processed. When those processors begin to misfire, due to traumatic brain trauma, tinnitus can be the result.
- Hearing Impairment: Often, tinnitus and hearing loss are joined at the hip. So you could end up with permanent tinnitus regardless of the cause of your hearing loss.
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are ringing after one rock concert, imagine how they’ll feel after several rock concerts a week or if you’re a musician who plays live shows and practices all day. Continued exposure to loud sounds can lead to irreversible hearing damage, tinnitus included.
Short term tinnitus is far more common than lasting tinnitus. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Us citizens each year.
How do You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
It doesn’t matter if your tinnitus is short lived or long lived, you will want to get relief as quickly as possible. There is no cure for tinnitus but you can do a few things to minimize the symptoms (however long they might endure):
- Find a way to mask the sound: In some cases, using a white noise device (like a humidifier or fan) can help you drown out the noise of tinnitus and, thus, overlook the symptoms (and, you know, get a restful night’s sleep in the process).
- Try to stay calm: Maybe it sounds a little… abstract, but higher blood pressure can result in tinnitus flare ups so staying calm can help keep your tinnitus at bay.
- Steer clear of loud noises. Your symptoms may be prolonged or might become more severe if you continue to expose yourself to loud noises such as rock concerts or a jet engine.
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): The next step, if you can’t keep away from loud situations, is to use ear protection. (And, really, you should be protecting your ears whether you have tinnitus or not.)
Sadly, none of these methods will cure permanent tinnitus. But decreasing and controlling your symptoms can be just as important.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Goes Away?
In most circumstances, though, your tinnitus will go away without you needing to do anything about it. Your hearing should go back to normal within 16 to 48 hours. Nevertheless, if your tinnitus lingers, you’ll want to find a solution. The sooner you discover a treatment that is effective, the sooner you can experience relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is commonly associated with tinnitus) you should get your hearing examined.