You just can’t get away from that ringing in your ears. It’s been more than two days and you can still hear that irritating buzzing in your ears. You realize the noise is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to question exactly how permanent tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be brought about by damage to the stereocilia inside of your ears (the air vibrations that your ears turn into sound, are sensed by these little hairs). That injury is typically the outcome of overly loud sound. That’s why when you’re seated near a roaring jet engine, or out at a noisy restaurant, or attending a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
Under Normal Scenarios, How Long Does Tinnitus Last?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it’ll never subside. There will be a large number of factors that will determine how long your tinnitus will last, such as the root cause of your tinnitus and your general hearing health.
But if you just returned home from a noisy day of traveling and you notice your ears ringing, a couple of days should be enough for you to observe your tinnitus fading away. Typically, tinnitus will last 16 to 48 hours. But in some cases, symptoms can last as long as a couple of weeks. Additional exposure to loud sounds could also cause tinnitus to flare up again, effectively resetting the clock.
If tinnitus lingers and is impacting your quality of life, you need to see a specialist.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Permanent?
Usually, tinnitus is temporary. But that means it can be long lasting. Especially when the cause of tinnitus is something out of the ordinary When it comes to degree and origin. Here are a few examples:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The brain is where most sound is processed. In some cases, a traumatic brain injury (like a concussion) could lead to tinnitus because those processors begin to misfire.
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are ringing after one rock concert, imagine how they’ll feel after five rock concerts a week or if you’re a musician who plays live shows and practices all day. Frequent exposure to loud noises can lead to irreversible hearing damage, including tinnitus.
- Hearing loss: Tinnitus and hearing loss typically go hand in hand. So you could end up with permanent tinnitus regardless of the cause of your hearing loss.
Short term tinnitus is far more common than lasting tinnitus. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still effects millions of Americans every year.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
It doesn’t matter if your tinnitus is short lived or long lived, you may want to get relief as soon as possible. Despite the fact that there isn’t any cure for tinnitus, there are a few things you can do to lessen symptoms (however long they might endure):
- Find a way to mask the sound: You can sometimes mask the sound and get a good nights sleep by utilizing some source of white noise such as a fan or humidifier.
- Stay away from loud noises. Attending another concert, jumping on another airline, or turning the volume on your television up another notch may prolong your symptoms or double down on their severity.
- Try to keep calm: perhaps it sounds a little… abstract, but keeping calm can really help keep your tinnitus in check, mostly because increased blood flow can induce tinnitus flare-ups.
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): If you cannot steer clear of loud situations, then protecting your hearing is the next best step. (And, really, whether you suffer from tinnitus or not, you need to use hearing protection.)
Unfortunately, none of these tactics will get rid of long term tinnitus. But it can be just as relevant to control and minimize your symptoms.
When Will Your Tinnitus go Away?
In most cases, though, your tinnitus will subside without you needing 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 lingers. The sooner you find a treatment that works, the sooner you can experience relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is frequently associated with tinnitus) you should get your hearing examined.