The ringing just won’t subside. It’s been more than two days and you can still hear that nagging buzzing in your ears. You’re aware that the ringing is tinnitus but your beginning to be concerned about how long it will last.
Tinnitus can be brought about by injury to the stereocilia inside your ears (the air vibrations that your ears convert into sound, are sensed by these little hairs). Usually, too much excessively loud noise is the cause. That’s why when you’re seated next to a roaring jet engine, eating at a loud restaurant, or going to a concert, you notice tinnitus the most.
How Long Does Tinnitus Last on Average?
There’s no cure for tinnitus. But tinnitus usually doesn’t continue indefinitely. How long your tinnitus persists depends on a large number of factors, including your overall health and the underlying cause of your tinnitus.
But if you notice your ears buzzing after a noisy day of traveling, you can generally expect your tinnitus to fade away in a day or two. Typically, tinnitus will persist for 16 to 48 hours. But occasionally, symptoms can last as much as two weeks. And tinnitus will come back if you are exposed to loud sound again.
If tinnitus continues and is affecting your quality of life, you need to see a specialist.
What Causes Permanent Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is normally short-lived. But that means it can be long lasting. Specifically when the cause of tinnitus is something outside the mundane either with respect to origin or in terms of intensity. Here are several examples:
- Repeated exposure: After one rock show, your ears will probably ring for a couple of days but frequent exposure will lead to far more serious consequences. Repeated exposure to loud sounds can lead to irreversible hearing damage, including tinnitus.
- Traumatic Brain Trauma (TBI): Much of the processing of sound happens in the brain. In some cases, a traumatic brain injury (like a concussion) may cause tinnitus because those processors begin to misfire.
- Hearing Impairment: Tinnitus and hearing loss typically go together. So you may end up with irreversible tinnitus no matter what the cause of your hearing loss.
Short term tinnitus is far more common than lasting tinnitus. But there are still millions of Americans every year who are treated for permanent, or chronic, tinnitus symptoms.
How Can You Get Your Tinnitus to Subside?
It doesn’t matter if your tinnitus is short term or long lived, you may want to find relief as soon as you can. There is no cure for tinnitus but you can do some things to reduce the symptoms (however long they may endure):
- Use earplugs (or earmuffs): The next option, if you can’t keep away from loud situations, is to use ear protection. (And, really, you need to be protecting your ears even if you don’t have tinnitus.)
- Find a way to cover up the sound: In some cases, using a white noise device (such as a humidifier or fan) 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).
- Steer clear of loud noises. Attending another concert, jumping on another plane, or cranking up the volume on your earpods another notch may extend your symptoms or increase their severity.
- Try to stay calm: Maybe it sounds a little… abstract, but increased blood pressure can lead to tinnitus episodes so staying calm can help keep your tinnitus under control.
To be sure, if you have long-term tinnitus, none of these strategies will get rid of your tinnitus. But it can be just as significant to manage and reduce your symptoms.
How Long Before Your Tinnitus Subsides?
Your tinnitus, in most cases, will subside by itself. Just wait the 16-48 hours and your hearing should return to normal. However, you will want to look for a solution if your tinnitus persists. Finding a workable treatment is the best way to ultimately get some relief. Get your hearing tested if you think you have tinnitus or hearing loss.