The ringing just won’t go away. That high pitched buzz in your ear has been irritating you since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. You recognize the noise is tinnitus, but you’re starting to question exactly how long lasting tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be brought on by injury to the stereocilia inside your ears (the air oscillations which your ears turn into sound, are sensed by these little hairs). Usually, too much overly loud sound is the cause. That’s why you observe tinnitus most commonly after, for example, attending a concert, eating at a loud restaurant, or being seated near a roaring jet engine while you’re traveling.
Under Typical Scenarios, How Long Will Tinnitus Last?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it’ll never go away. How long your tinnitus persists will depend on a wide variety of factors, such as your general health and the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
But if you just returned home from a noisy day of traveling and you find your ears ringing, a couple of days should be sufficient for you to notice your tinnitus going away. Normally, tinnitus will persist for 16 to 48 hours. But in some cases, symptoms can last as much as a couple of weeks. And tinnitus will come back if you are exposed to loud sound again.
If tinnitus continues and is affecting your quality of life, you need to see a specialist.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Irreversible?
Tinnitus is usually temporary. But that means it can be permanent. Particularly when the cause of tinnitus is something outside the mundane either in terms of origin or in terms of severity. Here are a few examples:
- Hearing Impairment: Often, tinnitus and hearing loss are joined at the hip. So, no matter what causes your hearing loss, you might also find yourself developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus along with it.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The majority of the processing of sound occurs in the brain. When those processors start to misfire, as a result of traumatic brain injury, tinnitus can be the outcome.
- Repeated exposure: After one rock concert, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but frequent subjection will lead to far worse consequences. Continued exposure to loud sounds can cause irreversible hearing damage, tinnitus included.
Short term tinnitus is a lot more common than permanent tinnitus. But there are still millions of Americans every year who are treated for lasting, or chronic, tinnitus symptoms.
How do You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
It doesn’t matter if your tinnitus is short term or long lived, you will want to get relief as quickly as you can. Despite the fact that there isn’t any cure for tinnitus, there are some things you can do to reduce symptoms (however long they might last):
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): The next step, if you can’t avoid loud environments, is to use hearing protection. (And, really, whether you suffer from tinnitus or not, you need to wear hearing protection.)
- Try to remain calm: perhaps it sounds a little… abstract, but keeping calm can really help keep your tinnitus under control, mostly because increases in blood pressure can stimulate tinnitus flare-ups.
- Find a way to mask the sound: You can sometimes drown out the sound and get a restful nights sleep by using some source of white noise like a fan or humidifier.
- Steer clear of loud noises. Your symptoms may be extended or might become more intense if you keep exposing yourself to loud noises such as a jet engine or rock concerts.
Regrettably, none of these tactics will get rid of permanent tinnitus. But it can be just as relevant to control and minimize your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Goes Away?
In the majority of circumstances, though, your tinnitus will subside without you having to do anything about it. Your hearing should go back to normal within 16 to 48 hours. However, you will want to find a solution if your tinnitus persists. The sooner you discover a treatment that works, the sooner you can experience relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is often associated with tinnitus) you should have your hearing checked.