The ringing just won’t go away. That high pitched ringing in your ear has been irritating you ever since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t gone away. You recognize the noise is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to question exactly how permanent tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be brought about by injury to the stereocilia inside your ears (the air oscillations that your ears convert into sound, are sensed by these tiny hairs). That damage is most often the result of excessively loud sound. That’s why when you’re sitting next to a roaring jet engine, or out at a noisy restaurant, or attending a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
How Long Does Tinnitus Last on Average?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ever go away. There will be a large number of factors that will determine how long your tinnitus will stick around, like your general health and the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
But if you just returned home from a noisy day of traveling and you notice your ears buzzing, you can generally expect your tinnitus to fade away in a day or two. On average, tinnitus will persist for 16 to 48 hours. But occasionally, symptoms can last as long as two 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.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Permanent?
Usually, tinnitus is short-lived. But in some cases it can be long-lasting. When the root cause is not ordinary that’s especially true either with respect to origin or in terms of intensity. Here are several examples:
- Hearing loss: Typically, tinnitus and hearing loss are joined at the hip. So, whatever the cause of your hearing loss is, you might also find yourself developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus alongside it.
- Traumatic Brain Trauma (TBI): The brain is where most sound is processed. In some cases, a traumatic brain injury (such as a concussion) may lead to tinnitus because those processors begin to misfire.
- Repeated exposure: After one rock concert, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but repeated exposure will result in far worse consequences. Continued exposure to loud noises can result in irreversible hearing injury, tinnitus included.
Permanent tinnitus is significantly less common than its more short-term counterpart. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Americans every year.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
It doesn’t matter if your tinnitus is short lived or long lived, you may want to get relief as soon as possible. There isn’t a cure for tinnitus but you can do some things to minimize the symptoms (however long they may endure):
- Find a way to mask the sound: You can sometimes drown out the sound and get a restful nights sleep by utilizing some source of white noise including a fan or humidifier.
- Steer clear of loud noises. Attending another live show, hopping on another airline, or cranking up the volume on your earpods another notch could prolong your symptoms or increase their severity.
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): The next step, if you can’t steer clear of loud environments, is to wear hearing protection. (And, really, whether you suffer from tinnitus or not, you need to wear hearing protection.)
- Try to keep calm: perhaps it sounds somewhat… abstract, but higher blood pressure can trigger tinnitus episodes so keeping calm can help keep your tinnitus under control.
To be sure, if you have long-term tinnitus, none of these strategies will get rid of your tinnitus. But it can be just as important to control and minimize your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Disappears?
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 persists. The sooner you find a treatment that works, the sooner you can get relief. Get your hearing examined if you think you have tinnitus or hearing loss.