You just can’t escape from that ringing in your ears. That high pitched buzz in your ear has been bothering you ever since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. You recognize the sound is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to wonder exactly how long lasting tinnitus usually is.
Tinnitus can be brought about by injury to the stereocilia in your ears (the air vibrations that your ears turn into sound, are sensed by these tiny hairs). Generally, too much overly loud sound is the cause. That’s why you observe tinnitus most often after, for example, attending a concert, eating at a loud restaurant, or sitting next to a deafening jet engine while you’re traveling.
Under Typical Scenarios, How Long Will Tinnitus Last?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ever subside. How long your tinnitus persists will depend on a wide variety of factors, including the underlying cause of your tinnitus and your general hearing health.
But if you find your ears ringing after a noisy day of traveling, you can typically expect your tinnitus to fade away in a day or two. 16 to 48 hours typically is how long tinnitus will last. But it’s also not uncommon for symptoms to stick around, often for as much as a couple of weeks. And tinnitus will come back if you are exposed to loud sound again.
If tinnitus continues and is impacting your quality of life, you need to see a specialist.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Irreversible?
Tinnitus is usually temporary. But in some cases it can be permanent. When the root cause is not ordinary that’s especially true either with respect to origin or in terms of seriousness. Here are some examples:
- Hearing Impairment: Tinnitus and hearing loss often go together. So, whatever the cause of your hearing loss is, you might also wind up developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus alongside it.
- Traumatic Brain Trauma (TBI): The brain is where most sound is processed. When those processors begin to misfire, because of traumatic brain trauma, tinnitus can be the outcome.
- 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 performs concerts and practices all day. Repeated exposure to loud sounds can lead to irreversible hearing injury, tinnitus included.
Permanent tinnitus is considerably less common than its more temporary counterpart. But there are still millions of Americans every year who are treated for lasting, or chronic, tinnitus symptoms.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
You will want to find relief sooner rather than later regardless of whether your tinnitus is long term or short term. Although there isn’t any cure for tinnitus, there are a few things you can do to lessen symptoms (though they will probably last only so long):
- Find a way to cover up the sound: You can sometimes drown out the sound and get a good nights sleep by using some source of white noise such as a humidifier or fan.
- Stay away from loud noises. Attending another live show, hopping on another plane, or turning the volume on your television up another notch could extend your symptoms or double down on their severity.
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): The next option, if you can’t avoid loud situations, is to wear ear protection. (And, really, you should be protecting your ears whether you have tinnitus or not.)
- Try to keep calm: perhaps it sounds somewhat… abstract, but staying calm can really help keep your tinnitus under control, mostly because increases in blood flow can stimulate tinnitus flare-ups.
Unfortunately, none of these tactics will cure long term tinnitus. But decreasing and controlling your symptoms can be equally significant.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Subsides?
In most scenarios, 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 seek out a solution if your tinnitus lingers. Discovering a workable treatment is the best way to ultimately get some relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is often associated with tinnitus) you should get your hearing tested.