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 know the noise is tinnitus, but you’re beginning to question exactly how permanent tinnitus usually is.
Tinnitus can be caused by damage to the stereocilia inside your ears (they’re the tiny hairs that sense air vibrations which your brain then converts into intelligible sound). Normally, too much excessively loud noise is the cause. That’s why you notice tinnitus most often after, as an example, going to a concert, eating at a noisy restaurant, or being seated near a deafening jet engine while you’re traveling.
Under Normal Scenarios, How Long Does Tinnitus Last?
There’s no cure for tinnitus. But tinnitus usually doesn’t continue forever. How long your tinnitus persists will depend on a large number of factors, including your overall 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, a day or two should be enough for you to observe your tinnitus fading away. On average, tinnitus will persist for 16 to 48 hours. But occasionally, symptoms can last as long as a couple of weeks. And tinnitus will come back if you are exposed to loud sound again.
If tinnitus continues and is impacting your quality of life, you need to consult a specialist.
What Causes Long Term Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is normally impermanent. But that means it can be permanent. When the cause is not ordinary that’s particularly true either with respect to origin or in terms of seriousness. Some examples are as follows:
- Repeated exposure: After one rock show, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but continued exposure will result in far worse consequences. Frequent exposure to loud noises can result in irreversible hearing injury, including tinnitus.
- Hearing loss: Often, tinnitus and hearing loss are joined at the hip. So, whatever the cause of your hearing loss is, you might also find yourself developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus along with it.
- Traumatic Brain Trauma (TBI): The brain is where the majority of sound is processed. When those processors begin to misfire, because of traumatic brain injury, tinnitus can be the result.
Permanent tinnitus is considerably 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 do You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
You will need to get relief as soon as possible regardless of whether your tinnitus is permanent or temporary. Although there isn’t any cure for tinnitus, there are certain things you can do to decrease symptoms (however long they may endure):
- Find a way to mask the sound: In some cases, utilizing a white noise machine (including a fan or humidifier) can help you drown out the sound of tinnitus and, thus, ignore the symptoms (and, you know, get a good night’s sleep in the process).
- Avoid loud noises. Going to another live show, hopping on another plane, or turning the volume on your television up another notch could extend your symptoms or double down on their severity.
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): If you can’t avoid loud environments, then protecting your hearing is the next best step. (And, really, you need to be protecting your ears whether you have tinnitus or not.)
- Try to remain calm: Maybe it sounds a little… abstract, but higher blood pressure can lead to tinnitus episodes so remaining calm can help keep your tinnitus at bay.
Unfortunately, none of these tactics will get rid of long term tinnitus. But it can be just as relevant to manage and diminish your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Subsides?
In most scenarios, though, your tinnitus will subside without you needing to do anything about it. Just wait the 16-48 hours and your hearing should go back to normal. However, you will want to seek out a solution if your tinnitus lingers. Finding a workable treatment is the best way to ultimately get some relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is often associated with tinnitus) you should have your hearing examined.