You just can’t escape from that ringing in your ears. That high pitched buzz in your ear has been irritating you since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. you realize that the ringing is tinnitus but your starting to worry about how long it will last.
Tinnitus can be caused by damage to the stereocilia inside your ears (they’re the very small hairs that pick up air vibrations which your brain then turns into intelligible sound). That damage is usually the outcome of excessively loud noise. That’s why when you’re seated next to a roaring jet engine, or out at a loud restaurant, or going to a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
How Long Does Tinnitus Persist on Average?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But tinnitus usually doesn’t last indefinitely. There will be a large number of factors that will influence how long your tinnitus will last, including your general health and the root cause of your tinnitus.
But if you just returned home from a noisy day of traveling and you find your ears buzzing, you can normally expect your tinnitus to fade away in a day or two. 16 to 48 hours typically is how long tinnitus will persist. But sometimes, symptoms can last as long as two weeks. Additional exposure to loud noises could also cause 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.
What Leads to Irreversible Tinnitus?
Usually, tinnitus is temporary. But sometimes it can be permanent. Particularly when the cause of tinnitus is something out of the ordinary either with respect to origin or in terms of seriousness. Here are several examples:
- Hearing loss: Often, hearing loss and tinnitus are joined at the hip. So, no matter what causes your hearing loss, you could also end up developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus along with it.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Most of the processing of sound happens in the brain. In some cases, a traumatic brain injury (such as a concussion) may cause tinnitus because those processors start to misfire.
- Repeated exposure: After one rock show, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but repeated exposure will lead to far more serious consequences. Repeated exposure to loud sounds can cause irreversible hearing injury, including tinnitus.
Permanent tinnitus is substantially less common than its more short-term counterpart. But there are still millions of Americans each year who are treated for lasting, or chronic, tinnitus symptoms.
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 find relief as quickly as possible. Despite the fact that there isn’t any cure for tinnitus, there are certain things you can do to reduce symptoms (though they will probably last only so long):
- Find a way to mask the sound: Sometimes, utilizing a white noise device (like 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).
- Stay away from loud noises. Attending another live show, hopping on another flight, or turning the volume on your television up another notch could prolong your symptoms or increase their severity.
- Try to stay calm: perhaps it sounds somewhat… abstract, but higher blood pressure can result in tinnitus episodes so remaining calm can help keep your tinnitus at bay.
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): If you cannot steer clear of loud situations, then protecting your hearing is the next best step. (And, really, whether you suffer from tinnitus or not, you need to use hearing protection.)
Regrettably, none of these methods will cure permanent tinnitus. But it can be equally important to manage and reduce your symptoms.
When Will Your Tinnitus Subside?
Your tinnitus, in the majority of circumstances, will subside 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 lingers. The sooner you find a treatment that is effective, the sooner you can experience relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is often associated with tinnitus) you should have your hearing tested.