You just can’t get away from that ringing in your ears. It’s been over two days and you can still hear that irritating ringing in your ears. You recognize the sound is tinnitus, but you’re starting to question exactly how long lasting tinnitus normally is.
Tinnitus can be brought on by injury to the stereocilia inside your ears (they’re the very small hairs that pick up air vibrations which your brain then converts into intelligible sound). Generally, too much excessively loud sound is the cause. That’s why you notice tinnitus most often after, for example, going to a concert, spending time in a noisy restaurant, or sitting near a deafening jet engine while you’re taking a trip.
How Long Does Tinnitus Last on Average?
Tinnitus can’t be cured. But that doesn’t mean it’ll never subside. There will be a large number of factors that will establish how long your tinnitus will last, like the root cause of your tinnitus and your overall hearing health.
But if you notice your ears ringing after a noisy day of traveling, a day or two should be sufficient for you to observe your tinnitus going away. On average, tinnitus will last 16 to 48 hours. But often, symptoms can last as much as a couple of weeks. And tinnitus will come back if you are exposed to loud sound again.
It’s typically suggested that you see a specialist if your tinnitus continues and particularly if your tinnitus is detracting from your quality of life.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Permanent?
Tinnitus is usually impermanent. But in some cases it can be permanent. When the cause is not mundane that’s especially true either in terms of origin or in terms of severity. Here are some examples:
- Repeated exposure: After one rock show, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but frequent exposure will result in far more serious consequences. Repeated exposure to loud noises can result in irreversible hearing injury, including tinnitus.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The majority of the processing of sound occurs in the brain. In some cases, a traumatic brain injury (like a concussion) might cause tinnitus because those processors start to misfire.
- Hearing loss: Typically, hearing loss and tinnitus are joined at the hip. So, no matter what causes your hearing loss, you may also find yourself developing (or noticing) irreversible tinnitus alongside it.
Permanent tinnitus is considerably 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 Can You Get Your Tinnitus to go Away?
You will need to find relief as soon as possible regardless of whether your tinnitus is long term or short term. Even though there’s no cure for tinnitus, there are a few things you can do to decrease symptoms (however long they may last):
- Wear earplugs (or earmuffs): The next option, if you can’t keep away from loud situations, is to use hearing protection. (And, really, whether you have tinnitus or not, you should use hearing protection.)
- Find a way to mask the sound: You can sometimes mask the sound and get a good nights sleep by using some source of white noise including a humidifier or fan.
- Steer clear of loud noises. Your symptoms may be prolonged or might become more intense if you keep exposing yourself to loud noises such as rock concerts or a jet engine.
- Try to stay calm: Maybe it sounds somewhat… abstract, but higher blood pressure can lead to tinnitus flare ups so keeping calm can help keep your tinnitus under control.
Regrettably, none of these practices will cure long term tinnitus. But it can be just as significant to manage and minimize your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Disappears?
In most scenarios, 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 lingers. The sooner you find a treatment that works, the sooner you can get relief. If you think you have hearing loss (which is commonly associated with tinnitus) you should get your hearing checked.