The ringing just won’t subside. It’s been over two days and you can still hear that irritating buzzing in your ears. You know the sound is tinnitus, but you’re starting to question just how long lasting tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be caused by injury to the stereocilia inside your ears (the air oscillations which your ears convert into sound, are sensed by these little hairs). That damage is usually the outcome of excessively loud sound. That’s why when you’re seated next to a roaring jet engine, or out at a noisy restaurant, or attending a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
How Long Does Tinnitus Persist on Average?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it’ll never go away. How long your tinnitus lasts will depend on a wide variety of factors, like your general health and the root cause of your tinnitus.
But if you just returned home from a noisy day of traveling and you notice your ears ringing, a day or two should be enough for you to notice your tinnitus going away. Normally, tinnitus will last 16 to 48 hours. But it’s also not unusual for symptoms to stick around, sometimes for as much as a couple of weeks. And tinnitus will come back if you are exposed to loud sound again.
If tinnitus persists and is impacting your quality of life, you need to see a specialist.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Permanent?
Tinnitus is usually temporary. But that means it can be long lasting. Particularly when the cause of tinnitus is something out of the ordinary either with respect to origin or in terms of severity. Some examples are as follows:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The brain is where most sound is processed. In some cases, a serious brain injury (such as a concussion) may cause tinnitus because those processors begin to misfire.
- Repeated exposure: After one rock show, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but frequent exposure will lead to far worse consequences. Frequent exposure to loud noises can cause permanent hearing injury, including tinnitus.
- Hearing loss: Frequently, tinnitus and hearing loss are joined at the hip. So you may end up with permanent tinnitus regardless of the cause of your hearing loss.
Temporary tinnitus is far more common than permanent tinnitus. But there are still millions of Us citizens each year who are treated for permanent, or chronic, tinnitus symptoms.
How do 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. Despite the fact that there isn’t any cure for tinnitus, there are some things you can do to decrease symptoms (however long they may last):
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): The next step, if you can’t avoid loud situations, is to use ear protection. (And, really, whether you suffer from tinnitus or not, you should use hearing protection.)
- Steer clear of loud noises. Attending another live show, hopping on another plane, or cranking up the volume on your earpods another notch may extend your symptoms or double down on their severity.
- Find a way to cover up the sound: In some cases, using a white noise device (like a fan or humidifier) can help you cover up the noise of tinnitus and, thus, overlook the symptoms (and, you know, get a good night’s sleep in the process).
- Try to stay 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 trigger tinnitus flare-ups.
Sadly, none of these tactics will cure long term tinnitus. But it can be equally important to control and minimize your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Disappears?
Your tinnitus, in the majority of scenarios, will go away by itself. Just wait the 16-48 hours and your hearing should return to normal. However, if your tinnitus persists, you’ll want to seek out a solution. Discovering a workable treatment is the best way to ultimately get some relief. Get your hearing checked if you think you have tinnitus or hearing loss.