The ringing just won’t go away. That high pitched buzz in your ear has been nagging you since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. You acknowledge the sound is tinnitus, but you’re starting to wonder exactly how permanent tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be brought on by damage to the stereocilia inside your ears (they’re the small hairs that pick up air vibrations which your brain then transforms into intelligible sound). That damage is usually the result of overly loud noise. That’s why you notice tinnitus most commonly after, as an example, going to a concert, eating at a loud restaurant, or sitting near a roaring jet engine while you’re traveling.
Under Normal Scenarios, How Long Will Tinnitus Last?
There isn’t any cure for tinnitus. But tinnitus normally doesn’t continue indefinitely. There will be a large number of factors that will establish how long your tinnitus will stick around, 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 buzzing, you can typically expect your tinnitus to disappear in a day or two. 16 to 48 hours on average is how long tinnitus will last. But it’s also not uncommon for symptoms to linger, often for as long as two weeks. Further exposure to loud noises could also cause tinnitus to flare up again, essentially resetting the clock.
If tinnitus persists and is impacting your quality of life, you need to consult a specialist.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Permanent?
In most cases, tinnitus is short-lived. But in some cases it can be long-lasting. Especially when the cause of tinnitus is something outside the mundane either with respect to origin or in terms of severity. Here are some examples:
- Hearing loss: Tinnitus and hearing loss frequently go together. So you might end up with irreversible tinnitus regardless of the cause of your hearing loss.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The brain is where most sound is processed. In certain cases, a serious brain injury (such as a concussion) could lead to tinnitus because those processors start to misfire.
- Repeated exposure: After one rock concert, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but frequent subjection will lead to far more serious consequences. Repeated exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent hearing damage, including tinnitus.
Permanent tinnitus is significantly less common than its more temporary counterpart. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Americans every year.
How do You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
It doesn’t matter if your tinnitus is short term or long term, you will want to find relief as soon as possible. Despite the fact that there’s no cure for tinnitus, there are a few things you can do to lessen symptoms (however long they may last):
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): The next option, if you can’t keep away from loud situations, is to use ear protection. (And, really, you need to be protecting your ears even if you don’t have tinnitus.)
- Find a way to mask the sound: You can in some cases drown out the sound and get a restful nights sleep by using some source of white noise like a humidifier or fan.
- Avoid loud noises. Going to another live show, jumping on another flight, or cranking up the volume on your earpods another notch may extend your symptoms or double down on their severity.
- Try to stay calm: Maybe it sounds somewhat… abstract, but staying calm can really help keep your tinnitus in check, mostly because increases in blood flow can trigger tinnitus flare-ups.
Sadly, none of these methods will get rid of long term tinnitus. But decreasing and controlling your symptoms can be just as important.
When Will Your Tinnitus Subside?
Your tinnitus, in the majority of circumstances, will go away by itself. Just wait the 16-48 hours and your hearing should go back to normal. However, if your tinnitus lingers, you’ll want to find a solution. Finding a workable treatment is the best way to finally get some relief. Get your hearing examined if you think you have tinnitus or hearing loss.