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 realize the noise is tinnitus, but you’re starting to wonder just how long lasting tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be brought on by damage to the stereocilia inside your ears (the air vibrations that your ears convert into sound, are sensed by these little hairs). That injury is most often the result of overly loud sound. That’s why when you’re sitting next to a booming jet engine, or out at a noisy restaurant, or attending a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
Under Normal Scenarios, How Long Does Tinnitus Persist?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it’ll never subside. How long your tinnitus lasts will depend on a large number of factors, such as your overall health and the root cause of your tinnitus.
But if you just arrived home from a noisy day of traveling and you notice your ears buzzing, a couple of days should be enough for you to notice your tinnitus going away. 16 to 48 hours typically is how long tinnitus will persist. But occasionally, symptoms can last as much as a couple of weeks. Additional exposure to loud sounds could also trigger tinnitus to flare up again, effectively resetting the clock.
If tinnitus persists and is affecting your quality of life, you need to see a specialist.
What Leads to Lasting Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is normally impermanent. But that means it can be long lasting. Particularly when the cause of tinnitus is something outside the mundane either with respect to origin or in terms of intensity. Here are several examples:
- Hearing Impairment: Tinnitus and hearing loss frequently go hand in hand. So, no matter what causes your hearing loss, you may also wind up developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus alongside it.
- Repeated exposure: After one rock show, your ears will ring for a couple of days but repeated subjection will result in far worse consequences. Frequent exposure to loud sounds can lead to permanent hearing damage, including tinnitus.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The brain is where most sound is processed. In some cases, a serious brain injury (like a concussion) might lead to tinnitus because those processors begin to misfire.
Short term tinnitus is far more common than permanent tinnitus. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Americans each year.
How do You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
It doesn’t matter if your tinnitus is short lived or long term, you may want to get relief as quickly as you can. There is no cure for tinnitus but you can do some things to decrease the symptoms (however long they may endure):
- Find a way to cover up the sound: Sometimes, utilizing a white noise device (such as a fan or humidifier) can help you mask the noise of tinnitus and, thus, ignore the symptoms (and, you know, get a restful night’s sleep in the process).
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): The next option, if you can’t avoid loud situations, is to use ear protection. (And, really, whether you have tinnitus or not, you should use hearing protection.)
- Steer clear of loud noises. Going to another live show, jumping on another flight, or turning up the volume on your earpods another notch could prolong your symptoms or increase their severity.
- Try to remain calm: Maybe it sounds somewhat… abstract, but higher blood pressure can bring about tinnitus flare ups so remaining calm can help keep your tinnitus in check.
To be sure, if you have long-term tinnitus, none of these strategies will cure your tinnitus. But it can be just as important to control and minimize your symptoms.
When Will Your Tinnitus Disappear?
Your tinnitus, in the majority of cases, will go away by itself. Your hearing should return to normal within 16 to 48 hours. Nevertheless, if your tinnitus persists, you’ll want to find a solution. The sooner you find a treatment that is effective, the sooner you can get relief. Get your hearing tested if you think you have hearing loss or tinnitus.