You just can’t get away from that ringing in your ears. That high pitched ringing in your ear has been irritating you ever since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. You’re aware that the ringing is tinnitus but your starting to worry about how long it will continue.
Tinnitus can be brought on by damage to the stereocilia inside your ears (they’re the small hairs that sense air vibrations which your brain then transforms into intelligible sound). Usually, too much overly loud sound is the cause. That’s why when you’re sitting next to a roaring jet engine, eating at a loud restaurant, or attending a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
How Long Does Tinnitus Persist on Average?
There’s no cure for tinnitus. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ever go away. How long your tinnitus lasts will depend on a large number of factors, including your overall health and the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
But if you notice your ears buzzing after a noisy day of traveling, a day or two should be enough for you to notice your tinnitus fading away. 16 to 48 hours typically is how long tinnitus will persist. But sometimes, symptoms can last as much as two weeks. Further exposure to loud noises could also trigger tinnitus to flare up again, effectively resetting the clock.
If tinnitus lingers and is affecting your quality of life, you need to consult a specialist.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Irreversible?
Tinnitus is usually impermanent. But that means it can be irreversible. When the root cause is not mundane that’s particularly true either with respect to origin or in terms of severity. Some examples are as follows:
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are buzzing after one rock concert, imagine how they’ll feel after several rock concerts a week or if you’re a musician who plays live shows and practices all day. Frequent exposure to loud sounds can lead to irreversible hearing injury, including tinnitus.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Most of the processing of sound happens in the brain. In certain cases, a traumatic brain injury (such as a concussion) may cause tinnitus because those processors start to misfire.
- Hearing Impairment: Tinnitus and hearing loss frequently go together. So you may end up with irreversible tinnitus no matter what the cause of your hearing loss.
Permanent tinnitus is substantially less common than its more temporary counterpart. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Americans every year.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
You will need to get relief as soon as possible regardless of whether your tinnitus is long term or short term. Even though there’s no cure for tinnitus, there are some things you can do to lessen symptoms (however long they may last):
- Steer clear of loud noises. Your symptoms might be prolonged or may become more severe if you continue to expose yourself to loud noises like rock concerts or a jet engine.
- Try to keep calm: Maybe it sounds somewhat… abstract, but keeping calm can really help keep your tinnitus under control, mostly because increased blood pressure can induce tinnitus flare-ups.
- Find a way to cover up the sound: You can sometimes mask the sound and get a good nights sleep by using some source of white noise including a humidifier or fan.
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): The next step, if you can’t steer clear of loud environments, is to use ear protection. (And, really, whether you suffer from tinnitus or not, you need to use hearing protection.)
Sadly, none of these practices will cure long term tinnitus. But it can be just as important to manage and minimize your symptoms.
When Will Your Tinnitus Subside?
In the majority of circumstances, though, your tinnitus will go away without you needing to do anything about it. Your hearing should return to normal within 16 to 48 hours. However, you will want to find a solution if your tinnitus lingers. The sooner you discover a treatment that is effective, the sooner you can get relief. Get your hearing examined if you think you have hearing loss or tinnitus.