You just can’t get away from that ringing in your ears. That high pitched buzz in your ear has been nagging you since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. You realize the noise is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to wonder just how permanent tinnitus usually is.
Tinnitus can be brought on by injury to the stereocilia inside your ears (they’re the tiny hairs that sense air vibrations that your brain then converts into intelligible sound). Generally, too much excessively loud noise is the cause. That’s why when you’re sitting near a roaring jet engine, or out at a loud restaurant, or going to a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
Under Typical Circumstances, How Long Will Tinnitus Last?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But tinnitus usually doesn’t last forever. There will be a large number of factors that will establish how long your tinnitus will last, like your overall health and the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
But if you just returned home from a noisy day of traveling and you notice your ears buzzing, a day or two should be enough for you to observe your tinnitus going away. 16 to 48 hours on average is how long tinnitus will persist. But it’s also not abnormal for symptoms to linger, often for as much as two weeks. Further exposure to loud noises could also trigger tinnitus to flare up again, essentially resetting the clock.
If tinnitus lingers and is impacting your quality of life, you need to see a specialist.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Irreversible?
Normally, tinnitus is short-lived. But that means it can be long lasting. Particularly when the cause of tinnitus is something outside the mundane When it comes to degree and origin. Here are some examples:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The brain is where most sound is processed. In some cases, a traumatic brain injury (like a concussion) may cause tinnitus because those processors begin to misfire.
- Hearing loss: Tinnitus and hearing loss often go hand in hand. So you may end up with permanent tinnitus regardless of the cause of your hearing loss.
- Repeated exposure: After one rock concert, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but continued exposure will lead to far more serious consequences. Frequent exposure to loud sounds can lead to irreversible hearing damage, including tinnitus.
Permanent tinnitus is substantially less common than its more short-term counterpart. But there are still millions of Americans every year who are treated for lasting, or chronic, tinnitus symptoms.
How do You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
You will need to get 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 some things to minimize the symptoms (though they will probably last only so long):
- Avoid loud noises. Your symptoms may be prolonged or may become more severe if you continue to expose yourself to loud noises like a jet engine or rock concerts.
- Find a way to mask the sound: Sometimes, using a white noise machine (like a humidifier or fan) can help you mask the sound of tinnitus and, thus, ignore the symptoms (and, you know, get a good night’s sleep in the process).
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): The next option, if you can’t steer clear of loud situations, is to wear ear protection. (And, really, whether you have tinnitus or not, you should wear hearing protection.)
- Try to remain calm: Maybe it sounds somewhat… abstract, but higher blood pressure can lead to tinnitus flare ups so remaining calm can help keep your tinnitus at bay.
To be sure, if you have permanent tinnitus, none of these techniques will get rid of your tinnitus. But it can be just as significant to control and minimize your symptoms.
When Will Your Tinnitus go Away?
Your tinnitus, in most scenarios, will go away by itself. 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 find a treatment that works, the sooner you can experience relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is frequently associated with tinnitus) you should have your hearing examined.