The ringing just won’t go away. It’s been more than two days and you can still hear that irritating ringing in your ears. You realize the sound is tinnitus, but you’re starting to wonder just how permanent tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be brought on by damage to the stereocilia in your ears (they’re the very small hairs that pick up air vibrations which your brain then transforms into intelligible sound). That damage is most often the result of overly loud noise. That’s why when you’re sitting next to a roaring jet engine, or out at a loud restaurant, or attending a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
Under Typical Scenarios, How Long Does Tinnitus Last?
There’s no cure for tinnitus. But tinnitus usually doesn’t continue forever. How long your tinnitus lasts will depend on a large number of factors, such as your overall health and the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
But if you notice your ears ringing after a noisy day of traveling, you can usually expect your tinnitus to disappear in a day or two. Typically, tinnitus will persist for 16 to 48 hours. But sometimes, symptoms can last as long as a couple of weeks. Further exposure to loud sounds could also trigger tinnitus to flare up again, effectively resetting the clock.
It’s generally recommended that you see a specialist if your tinnitus continues and particularly if your tinnitus is impacting from your quality of life.
What Leads to Irreversible Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is usually temporary. But that means it can be long lasting. Especially when the cause of tinnitus is something outside the mundane When it comes to severity and origin. Here are several examples:
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are buzzing after attending 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. Repeated exposure to loud sounds can lead to permanent hearing injury, including tinnitus.
- Hearing Impairment: Tinnitus and hearing loss often go hand in hand. So you could end up with irreversible tinnitus no matter what the cause of your hearing loss.
- Traumatic Brain Trauma (TBI): Most of the processing of sound happens in the brain. When those processors begin to misfire, as a result of traumatic brain injury, tinnitus can be the outcome.
Short term tinnitus is far more common than lasting tinnitus. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Us citizens each year.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
It doesn’t matter if your tinnitus is short lived or long term, you will want to get relief as soon as you can. There isn’t a cure for tinnitus but you can do some things to decrease the symptoms (however long they may endure):
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): If you cannot steer clear of loud situations, then safeguarding your hearing is the next best step. (And, really, whether you suffer from tinnitus or not, you should wear hearing protection.)
- Try to stay calm: Maybe it sounds somewhat… abstract, but keeping calm can really help keep your tinnitus in check, mostly because increases in blood flow can induce tinnitus flare-ups.
- Avoid loud noises. Going to another live show, jumping on another flight, or turning the volume on your television up another notch might extend your symptoms or increase their severity.
- Find a way to cover up the sound: You can in some cases mask the sound and get a good nights sleep by utilizing some source of white noise like a humidifier or fan.
Sadly, none of these tactics will cure long term tinnitus. But diminishing and managing your symptoms can be equally important.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Disappears?
In most cases, though, your tinnitus will go away 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 find a solution. Discovering a workable treatment is the best way to ultimately get some relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is commonly associated with tinnitus) you should have your hearing examined.