The ringing just won’t go away. That high pitched ringing in your ear has been nagging you since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t gone away. You recognize the noise is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to wonder just how long lasting tinnitus usually is.
Tinnitus can be brought on by damage to the stereocilia inside of your ears (the air vibrations that your ears turn into sound, are sensed by these tiny hairs). That injury is usually 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 noisy restaurant, or being seated near a roaring jet engine while you’re traveling.
How Long Does Tinnitus Last on Average?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ever go away. There will be a wide variety of factors that will influence how long your tinnitus will last, including your general health and the root cause of your tinnitus.
But if you just arrived home from a noisy day of traveling and you find your ears buzzing, a day or two should be sufficient for you to observe your tinnitus going away. On average, tinnitus will persist for 16 to 48 hours. But occasionally, symptoms can last as much as two weeks. And tinnitus will return if you are exposed to loud noise again.
It’s usually recommended that you see a specialist if your tinnitus persists and particularly if your tinnitus is impacting from your quality of life.
What Leads to Permanent Tinnitus?
Normally, tinnitus is temporary. But in some cases it can be irreversible. Particularly when the cause of tinnitus is something outside the mundane either with respect to origin or in terms of severity. Some illustrations are as follows:
- Traumatic Brain Trauma (TBI): Much of the processing of sound happens in the brain. In some cases, a serious brain injury (like a concussion) may cause tinnitus because those processors begin to misfire.
- Hearing loss: Typically, tinnitus and hearing loss are joined at the hip. So, whatever the cause of your hearing loss is, you might also wind up developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus alongside it.
- 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 performs concerts and practices all day. Repeated exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent hearing injury, tinnitus included.
Short term tinnitus is a lot more common than permanent tinnitus. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still effects millions of Us citizens every year.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
You will need to get relief as soon as possible regardless of whether your tinnitus is long term or short term. There isn’t a cure for tinnitus but you can do a few things to lessen the symptoms (however long they may last):
- Find a way to cover up the sound: In some cases, using a white noise device (such as a humidifier or fan) 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).
- Stay away from loud noises. Going to another live show, jumping on another plane, or cranking up the volume on your earpods another notch could prolong your symptoms or increase their severity.
- Try to stay calm: Maybe it sounds a little… abstract, but keeping calm can really help keep your tinnitus in check, mostly because increases in blood flow can stimulate tinnitus flare-ups.
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): The next step, if you can’t steer clear of loud situations, is to use ear protection. (And, really, whether you have tinnitus or not, you should wear hearing protection.)
Sadly, none of these tactics will cure long term tinnitus. But it can be just as important to manage and reduce your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Subsides?
Your tinnitus, in most circumstances, will subside by itself. Just wait the 16-48 hours and your hearing should return to normal. Nevertheless, if your tinnitus lingers, you’ll want to look for a solution. The sooner you find a treatment that is effective, the sooner you can experience relief. Get your hearing tested if you think you have tinnitus or hearing loss.