You just can’t escape from that ringing in your ears. It’s been over two days and you can still hear that nagging buzzing in your ears. You realize the noise is tinnitus, but you’re starting to question just how permanent tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be brought about by injury to the stereocilia inside of your ears (they’re the tiny hairs that pick up air vibrations that your brain then transforms into intelligible sound). That injury is typically the result of overly loud noise. That’s why when you’re seated next to a roaring jet engine, or out at a noisy restaurant, or going to 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’ll never subside. There will be a wide variety of factors that will influence how long your tinnitus will stick around, like the primary cause of your tinnitus and your overall hearing health.
But if you just returned home from a noisy day of traveling and you notice your ears buzzing, you can typically expect your tinnitus to disappear in a day or two. 16 to 48 hours typically is how long tinnitus will last. But it’s also not abnormal for symptoms to linger, often for as much as two weeks. And tinnitus will return if you are exposed to loud sound again.
If tinnitus continues and is affecting your quality of life, you need to see a specialist.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Irreversible?
Tinnitus is normally temporary. But that means it can be permanent. When the root cause is not mundane that’s particularly true either in terms of origin or in terms of intensity. Some examples are as follows:
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are ringing 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 noises can cause irreversible hearing injury, including tinnitus.
- Hearing Impairment: Often, hearing loss and tinnitus are joined at the hip. So, no matter what causes your hearing loss, you could also wind up developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus alongside it.
- Traumatic Brain Trauma (TBI): The majority of the processing of sound occurs in the brain. When those processors start to misfire, due to traumatic brain injury, tinnitus can be the outcome.
Short term tinnitus is far more common than lasting tinnitus. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still effects millions of Americans every year.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
You will want to find relief sooner rather than later regardless of whether your tinnitus is permanent or temporary. There isn’t a cure for tinnitus but you can do a few things to minimize the symptoms (however long they may endure):
- Find a way to cover up the sound: Sometimes, employing a white noise device (such as a humidifier or fan) can help you drown out the noise of tinnitus and, thus, ignore the symptoms (and, you know, get a restful night’s sleep in the process).
- Avoid loud noises. Going to another live show, jumping on another airline, or turning up the volume on your earpods another notch may extend your symptoms or double down on their severity.
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): If you cannot steer clear of loud environments, then safeguarding your hearing is the next best step. (And, really, whether you suffer from tinnitus or not, you should use hearing protection.)
- Try to keep calm: perhaps it sounds somewhat… abstract, but keeping calm can really help keep your tinnitus under control, mostly because increased blood flow can induce tinnitus flare-ups.
Regrettably, none of these practices will get rid of permanent tinnitus. But reducing and managing your symptoms can be equally significant.
When Will Your Tinnitus Subside?
In the majority of cases, though, your tinnitus will subside without you having to do anything about it. Your hearing should go back to normal within 16 to 48 hours. However, if your tinnitus lingers, you’ll want to find a solution. Discovering a workable treatment is the best way to finally get some relief. Get your hearing tested if you think you have hearing loss or tinnitus.