You just can’t escape from that ringing in your ears. That high pitched ringing in your ear has been nagging you ever since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t gone away. You realize the noise is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to question exactly how permanent tinnitus usually is.
Tinnitus can be brought on by injury to the stereocilia in your ears (they’re the very small hairs that pick up air vibrations that your brain then converts into intelligible sound). That injury is typically the result of excessively loud sound. That’s why you notice tinnitus most commonly after, for example, attending a concert, eating at a noisy restaurant, or being seated next to a roaring jet engine while you’re traveling.
How Long Does Tinnitus Persist on Average?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But tinnitus usually doesn’t last indefinitely. There will be a large number of factors that will influence how long your tinnitus will last, such as your overall health and the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
But if you find your ears buzzing after a noisy day of traveling, a couple of days should be enough for you to observe your tinnitus going away. Normally, tinnitus will persist for 16 to 48 hours. But it’s also not uncommon for symptoms to stick around, sometimes for as long as two weeks. And tinnitus will come back if you are exposed to loud sound again.
If tinnitus continues and is impacting your quality of life, you need to see a specialist.
What Causes Long Term Tinnitus?
Usually, tinnitus is temporary. But sometimes it can be irreversible. Specifically when the cause of tinnitus is something outside the mundane either with respect to origin or in terms of seriousness. Some illustrations are as follows:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The brain is where most sound is processed. In some cases, a traumatic brain injury (such as a concussion) may cause tinnitus because those processors start to misfire.
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are ringing after attending one rock concert, think of how they’ll feel after five rock concerts a week or if you’re a musician who performs concerts and practices all day. Continued exposure to loud noises can lead to irreversible hearing injury, including tinnitus.
- Hearing Impairment: Tinnitus and hearing loss typically go together. So you could end up with irreversible tinnitus no matter what the cause of your hearing loss.
Permanent tinnitus is substantially less common than its more short-term counterpart. 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 go Away?
It doesn’t matter if your tinnitus is short lived or long term, you will want to find relief as soon as you can. Even though there’s no cure for tinnitus, there are a few things you can do to decrease symptoms (though they will probably last only so long):
- Steer clear of loud noises. Your symptoms might be extended or might become more intense if you keep exposing yourself to loud noises like a jet engine or rock concerts.
- Try to keep calm: perhaps it sounds somewhat… abstract, but keeping calm can really help keep your tinnitus under control, mostly because increases in blood pressure can induce tinnitus flare-ups.
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): If you cannot steer clear of loud environments, then protecting your hearing is the next best step. (And, really, you should be protecting your ears whether you have tinnitus or not.)
- 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 like a humidifier or fan.
To be sure, if you have long-term tinnitus, none of these techniques will cure your tinnitus. But it can be just as important to control and diminish your symptoms.
When Will Your Tinnitus Disappear?
Your tinnitus, in most scenarios, will recede by itself. Your hearing should go back to normal within 16 to 48 hours. However, you will want to seek out a solution if your tinnitus lingers. The sooner you discover a treatment that is effective, the sooner you can experience relief. Get your hearing checked if you think you have tinnitus or hearing loss.