You just can’t escape from that ringing in your ears. That high pitched ringing in your ear has been bothering you ever since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. You know the noise is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to wonder just how long lasting tinnitus usually is.
Tinnitus can be caused by damage to the stereocilia inside of your ears (the air oscillations that your ears convert into sound, are sensed by these tiny hairs). Generally, too much overly loud noise is the cause. That’s why when you’re sitting near a booming jet engine, eating at a noisy restaurant, or going to a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
Under Normal Circumstances, How Long Will Tinnitus Last?
There isn’t any cure for tinnitus. But tinnitus usually doesn’t continue forever. There will be a wide variety of factors that will influence how long your tinnitus will last, such as the root cause of your tinnitus and your general hearing health.
But if you find your ears ringing after a noisy day of traveling, you can normally expect your tinnitus to disappear in a day or two. 16 to 48 hours typically is how long tinnitus will persist. But occasionally, symptoms can last as long as two weeks. Additional exposure to loud sounds could also trigger tinnitus to flare up again, effectively resetting the clock.
It’s usually recommended that you consult a specialist if your tinnitus persists and particularly if your tinnitus is detracting from your quality of life.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Permanent?
In most cases, tinnitus is temporary. But occasionally it can be irreversible. Particularly when the cause of tinnitus is something outside the mundane either with respect to origin or in terms of severity. Here are several examples:
- Hearing loss: Typically, hearing loss and tinnitus are joined at the hip. So you may end up with irreversible tinnitus regardless of the cause of your hearing loss.
- Traumatic Brain Trauma (TBI): The majority of the processing of sound occurs in the brain. When those processors start to misfire, as a result of traumatic brain injury, tinnitus can be the result.
- Repeated exposure: If your ears are ringing after one rock concert, imagine how they’ll feel after several rock concerts a week or if you’re a musician who performs concerts and practices all day. Frequent exposure to loud noises can cause irreversible hearing damage, including tinnitus.
Short term tinnitus is a lot more common than permanent tinnitus. But there are still millions of Americans each year who are treated for permanent, 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 lived, you may want to find relief as quickly as you can. There is no cure for tinnitus but you can do certain things to reduce the symptoms (however long they may endure):
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): The next step, if you can’t steer clear of loud situations, is to use ear protection. (And, really, whether you have tinnitus or not, you need to use hearing protection.)
- Avoid loud noises. Your symptoms may be extended or may become more severe if you keep exposing yourself to loud noises like rock concerts or a jet engine.
- Find a way to cover up the sound: Sometimes, using a white noise machine (including a humidifier or fan) can help you cover up the sound of tinnitus and, thus, overlook the symptoms (and, you know, get a good night’s sleep in the process).
- Try to keep calm: perhaps it sounds a little… abstract, but remaining calm can really help keep your tinnitus under control, mostly because increased blood pressure can trigger tinnitus flare-ups.
Sadly, none of these practices will cure long term tinnitus. But it can be equally significant to manage and minimize your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Subsides?
In most cases, though, your tinnitus will subside without you having 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 frequently associated with tinnitus) you should get your hearing examined.