The ringing just won’t subside. That high pitched buzz in your ear has been irritating you since yesterday morning and it still hasn’t disappeared. You know the sound 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 small hairs that sense air vibrations that your brain then transforms into intelligible sound). Normally, too much excessively loud noise is the cause. That’s why you observe tinnitus most commonly after, for example, going to a concert, spending time in a noisy restaurant, or being seated near a deafening jet engine while you’re traveling.
How Long Does Tinnitus Last on Average?
There isn’t any cure for tinnitus. But tinnitus usually doesn’t continue forever. There will be a wide variety of factors that will establish how long your tinnitus will stick around, like the underlying cause of your tinnitus and your overall hearing health.
But if you just returned home from a noisy day of traveling and you find your ears ringing, you can generally expect your tinnitus to go away in a day or two. 16 to 48 hours typically is how long tinnitus will persist. But it’s also not abnormal for symptoms to stick around, often for as much as a couple of weeks. And tinnitus will come back if you are exposed to loud noise again.
It’s generally suggested that you see a specialist if your tinnitus continues and especially if your tinnitus is impacting from your quality of life.
Why is Tinnitus Sometimes Permanent?
Usually, tinnitus is short-lived. But that means it can be irreversible. Especially when the cause of tinnitus is something out of the ordinary either in terms of origin or in terms of intensity. Some illustrations are as follows:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The brain is where most sound is processed. In certain cases, a serious brain injury (such as a concussion) may lead to tinnitus because those processors start to misfire.
- 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. Frequent exposure to loud sounds can cause irreversible hearing damage, including tinnitus.
- Hearing loss: Tinnitus and hearing loss typically go hand in hand. So, whatever the cause of your hearing loss is, you might also end up developing (or noticing) permanent tinnitus along with it.
Permanent tinnitus is substantially less common than its more temporary counterpart. But there are still millions of Us citizens each year who are treated for lasting, or chronic, tinnitus symptoms.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
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 certain things to reduce the symptoms (however long they might endure):
- 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 fan or humidifier.
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): The next step, if you can’t steer clear of loud situations, is to wear hearing protection. (And, really, you need to be protecting your ears even if you don’t have tinnitus.)
- Try to stay calm: Maybe it sounds a little… abstract, but keeping calm can really help keep your tinnitus under control, mostly because increased blood flow can induce tinnitus flare-ups.
- Stay away from loud noises. Your symptoms could be extended or might become more intense if you continue to expose yourself to loud noises like a jet engine or rock concerts.
To be certain, if you have permanent tinnitus, none of these techniques will cure your tinnitus. But it can be just as important to control and reduce your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Subsides?
Your tinnitus, in the majority of circumstances, will recede by itself. Your hearing should return to normal within 16 to 48 hours. However, you will want to find a solution if your tinnitus persists. The sooner you find a treatment that is effective, the sooner you can experience relief. Get your hearing checked if you think you have tinnitus or hearing loss.