The ringing just won’t subside. That high pitched buzz in your ear has been nagging you ever since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t gone away. You know the noise is tinnitus, but you’re starting to question 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 little hairs). Normally, too much overly loud sound is the cause. That’s why you notice tinnitus most often after, for example, going to a concert, eating at a noisy restaurant, or sitting next to a deafening jet engine while you’re traveling.
How Long Does Tinnitus Last on Average?
There’s no cure for tinnitus. But tinnitus normally doesn’t last forever. How long your tinnitus persists will depend on a large number of factors, including the root cause of your tinnitus and your overall hearing health.
But if you find your ears ringing after a noisy day of traveling, you can usually expect your tinnitus to go away in a day or two. 16 to 48 hours on average is how long tinnitus will persist. But in some cases, symptoms can last as long as a couple of weeks. And tinnitus will return 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 Permanent?
Tinnitus is usually short-lived. But in some cases it can be long-lasting. Especially 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:
- Hearing Impairment: Tinnitus and hearing loss frequently go together. So, whatever the cause of your hearing loss is, you could also end up developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus along with it.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Most of the processing of sound occurs in the brain. In some cases, a serious brain injury (such as a concussion) could lead to tinnitus because those processors begin to misfire.
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are buzzing after attending one rock concert, think of how they’ll feel after several rock concerts a week or if you’re a musician who plays live shows and practices all day. Frequent exposure to loud noises can cause irreversible hearing damage, tinnitus included.
Permanent tinnitus is substantially less common than its more short-term counterpart. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Us citizens every year.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
You will need to find relief sooner rather than later regardless of whether your tinnitus is long term or temporary. There isn’t a cure for tinnitus but you can do some things to decrease the symptoms (however long they might endure):
- Find a way to mask the sound: Sometimes, utilizing a white noise machine (including a humidifier or fan) can help you cover up the sound of tinnitus and, thus, ignore the symptoms (and, you know, get a restful night’s sleep in the process).
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): If you cannot avoid loud situations, then protecting your hearing is the next best option. (And, really, whether you have tinnitus or not, you need to use hearing protection.)
- Avoid loud noises. Your symptoms might be prolonged or might become more severe if you continue to expose yourself to loud noises such as a jet engine or rock concerts.
- Try to remain calm: Maybe it sounds a little… abstract, but higher blood pressure can result in tinnitus flare ups so remaining calm can help keep your tinnitus in check.
To be sure, if you have permanent tinnitus, none of these strategies will cure your tinnitus. But it can be just as significant to control and diminish your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Disappears?
Your tinnitus, in most 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 look for a solution. The sooner you find a treatment that works, the sooner you can get relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is frequently associated with tinnitus) you should have your hearing checked.