You just can’t escape from that ringing in your ears. That high pitched buzz in your ear has been nagging you ever since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. You know the noise is tinnitus, but you’re starting to question just how permanent tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be caused by injury to the stereocilia inside your ears (they’re the tiny hairs that pick up air vibrations that your brain then turns into intelligible sound). That damage is most often the outcome of excessively loud noise. That’s why you notice tinnitus most commonly after, as an example, attending a concert, spending time in a noisy restaurant, or being seated next to a deafening jet engine while you’re traveling.
How Long Does Tinnitus Persist on Average?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ever subside. 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 notice your ears ringing after a noisy day of traveling, a couple of days should be sufficient for you to observe your tinnitus going away. Normally, tinnitus will last 16 to 48 hours. But it’s also not uncommon for symptoms to linger, often for as much as two weeks. Further exposure to loud noises could also trigger tinnitus to flare up again, essentially resetting the clock.
It’s usually suggested that you consult a specialist if your tinnitus continues and especially if your tinnitus is impacting from your quality of life.
What Causes Permanent Tinnitus?
In most cases, tinnitus is temporary. But that means it can be irreversible. When the cause is not ordinary that’s particularly true either in terms of origin or in terms of intensity. Some examples are as follows:
- Repeated exposure: After one rock show, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but frequent subjection will result in far more serious consequences. Continued exposure to loud noises can lead to permanent hearing injury, including tinnitus.
- Hearing loss: In many cases, hearing loss and tinnitus are joined at the hip. So, whatever the cause of your hearing loss is, you may also wind up developing (or noticing) irreversible tinnitus alongside it.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Most of the processing of sound occurs in the brain. When those processors start to misfire, as a result of traumatic brain trauma, tinnitus can be the result.
Permanent tinnitus is substantially less common than its more short-term counterpart. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Americans every year.
How do You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
Whether your tinnitus is short lived or long lived, you may want to find relief as quickly as you can. There is no cure for tinnitus but you can do a few things to minimize the symptoms (though they may last only so long):
- Stay away from loud noises. Your symptoms might be extended or might become more severe if you keep exposing yourself to loud noises such as rock concerts or a jet engine.
- Try to stay calm: Maybe it sounds a little… abstract, but higher blood pressure can result in tinnitus episodes so keeping calm can help keep your tinnitus in check.
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): If you cannot steer clear of loud environments, then safeguarding your hearing is the next best step. (And, really, you should be protecting your ears even if you don’t have tinnitus.)
- Find a way to cover up the sound: You can in some cases mask the sound and get a good nights sleep by using some source of white noise including a fan or humidifier.
Regrettably, none of these practices will get rid of long term tinnitus. But decreasing and managing your symptoms can be equally significant.
When Will Your Tinnitus go Away?
In most 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, if your tinnitus persists, you’ll want to look for a solution. The sooner you find a treatment that works, the sooner you can experience relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is commonly associated with tinnitus) you should get your hearing tested.