You just can’t escape from that ringing in your ears. That high pitched ringing in your ear has been nagging you since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t gone away. You’re aware that the ringing is tinnitus but your starting to be concerned about how long it will continue.
Tinnitus can be caused by injury to the stereocilia in your ears (they’re the tiny hairs that pick up air vibrations which your brain then transforms into intelligible sound). Normally, too much overly loud sound is the cause. That’s why you notice tinnitus most often after, for example, attending a concert, eating at a loud restaurant, or sitting near a roaring jet engine while you’re taking a trip.
Under Normal Scenarios, How Long Will Tinnitus Last?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But tinnitus normally doesn’t last indefinitely. How long your tinnitus persists depends on a large number of factors, including the underlying cause of your tinnitus and your overall hearing health.
But if you find your ears ringing after a noisy day of traveling, a day or two should be sufficient for you to observe your tinnitus fading away. 16 to 48 hours typically is how long tinnitus will persist. But it’s also not abnormal for symptoms to linger, often for as long as two weeks. And tinnitus will return if you are exposed to loud sound again.
It’s usually suggested that you see a specialist if your tinnitus persists and especially if your tinnitus is detracting from your quality of life.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Irreversible?
Normally, tinnitus is short-lived. But that means it can be long lasting. When the root cause is not ordinary that’s especially true either in terms of origin or in terms of severity. Some illustrations are as follows:
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are buzzing after attending one rock concert, think of how they’ll feel after several rock concerts a week or if you’re a musician who plays live shows and practices all day. Continued exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent hearing damage, tinnitus included.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Most of the processing of sound happens in the brain. When those processors begin to misfire, as a result of traumatic brain trauma, tinnitus can be the result.
- Hearing Impairment: Tinnitus and hearing loss often go hand in hand. So, no matter what causes your hearing loss, you may also wind up developing (or noticing) irreversible tinnitus alongside it.
Permanent tinnitus is significantly less common than its more short-term counterpart. But permanent or chronic tinnitus still impacts millions of Americans each year.
How do You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
You will want to get relief sooner rather than later regardless of whether your tinnitus is permanent or short term. Although there isn’t any cure for tinnitus, there are some things you can do to decrease symptoms (though they will probably last only so long):
- Stay away from loud noises. Going to another live show, hopping on another flight, or cranking up the volume on your earpods another notch could extend your symptoms or increase their severity.
- Find a way to mask the sound: In some cases, utilizing a white noise device (such as a fan or humidifier) can help you cover up the noise of tinnitus and, thus, ignore the symptoms (and, you know, get a good night’s sleep in the process).
- Try to remain calm: perhaps it sounds somewhat… abstract, but increased blood pressure can result in tinnitus flare ups so keeping calm can help keep your tinnitus at bay.
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): The next step, if you can’t keep away from loud environments, is to use hearing protection. (And, really, whether you have tinnitus or not, you need to use hearing protection.)
To be sure, if you have permanent tinnitus, none of these techniques will get rid of your tinnitus. But reducing and managing your symptoms can be just as important.
When Will Your Tinnitus go Away?
In most cases, though, your tinnitus will subside 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 persists. Discovering a workable treatment is the best way to finally get some relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is commonly associated with tinnitus) you should get your hearing checked.