How Long Does Ringing in the Ears Last: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Ringing in the ears, also known as tinnitus, is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a sensation of noise or ringing that occurs in the ears without any external source of sound. It can be caused by a variety of factors such as exposure to loud noise, ear infections, or even certain medications. The duration of the ringing in the ears can vary, and most people experience it for a short period of time. However, in some cases, it can be a chronic condition that lasts for months or even years.

If you have ever experienced ringing in the ears, then you know how frustrating and distracting it can be. It can interfere with your daily activities, affect your sleep, and even lead to anxiety and depression in some cases. Although the duration of the ringing in the ears varies from person to person, it is important to seek medical help if it persists for an extended period of time. There are various treatments available that can alleviate the symptoms and help you manage the condition better.

In this article, we will explore the causes of ringing in the ears, the different types of tinnitus, and how long it can last. We will also discuss some of the common treatments and strategies that can help you cope with the condition. If you are one of the many people struggling with ringing in the ears, then keep reading to learn more about this common ailment and how you can deal with it more effectively.

Causes of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a common hearing problem that affects approximately 15-20% of the population. The ringing, buzzing, or humming sound that is associated with tinnitus can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Noise exposure: Prolonged exposure to loud noise is one of the most common causes of tinnitus. This includes exposure to music, construction sites, and firearms.
  • Age-related hearing loss: As people age, they are more likely to experience hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Medications: Certain medications such as antibiotics, aspirin, and diuretics can cause tinnitus as a side effect.
  • Ear wax buildup: When earwax accumulates in the ear, it can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Ear infections: Infections in the ear can cause inflammation and irritation, leading to tinnitus.
  • Trauma to the head or neck: Head and neck injuries can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels, leading to tinnitus.
  • Medical conditions: Conditions such as Meniere’s disease, high blood pressure, and thyroid disorders can cause tinnitus.

Types of Tinnitus

There are two main categories of tinnitus, subjective and objective. Understanding the difference between the two can help individuals gain better insight into their own symptoms and potential causes.

  • Subjective tinnitus: This form of tinnitus is the most common and affects approximately 99% of individuals with tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus can only be heard by the person experiencing the symptoms and is often caused by damage to the auditory system due to loud noise exposure, aging, or other underlying health conditions.
  • Objective tinnitus: This type of tinnitus is less common and can be heard by both the individual experiencing the symptoms as well as others in close proximity. Objective tinnitus is often caused by underlying vascular or muscular issues or due to a problem with the middle ear.

It’s important to note that while subjective tinnitus can’t be heard by others, it doesn’t mean it’s not a real issue. Those experiencing symptoms of subjective tinnitus can find it to be debilitating and disruptive to their daily lives.

In addition to the two main categories, tinnitus can also be further classified based on the type and perceived pitch of the sound. Some common types of tinnitus include:

  • Pulsatile tinnitus, which is often described as a rhythmic pulsing or thumping sound that syncs up with the individual’s heartbeat
  • Tonal tinnitus, which is often described as a constant and steady sound
  • Noise-induced tinnitus, which is often caused by exposure to loud or prolonged noise
  • Neurological tinnitus, which is often associated with disorders that affect the nervous system


Overall, there are various types of tinnitus that can affect individuals in different ways. Understanding the type of tinnitus one is experiencing can help with identifying potential causes and seeking appropriate treatment options.

Type of Tinnitus Description
Subjective Can only be heard by the individual experiencing the symptoms
Objective Can be heard by both the individual experiencing the symptoms and others nearby
Pulsatile Rhythmic pulsing or thumping sound that syncs up with the individual’s heartbeat
Tonal Constant and steady sound
Noise-induced Caused by exposure to loud or prolonged noise
Neurological Associated with disorders that affect the nervous system

By educating oneself on the different types of tinnitus, individuals can gain a better understanding of their own symptoms and seek appropriate medical attention if needed. While tinnitus can be a challenging condition to deal with, there are various treatment options available that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Medical conditions that can cause tinnitus

Tinnitus is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Although it is often associated with exposure to loud noise, there are many medical conditions that can cause tinnitus.

  • Ear infections: An ear infection can cause inflammation and damage to the eardrum and middle ear, leading to tinnitus.
  • Otosclerosis: This is a condition caused by abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, which can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Ménière’s disease: A disorder of the inner ear that can cause dizziness, hearing loss, and tinnitus.

If you are experiencing tinnitus, it is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Your doctor may recommend further tests or refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

In addition to medical conditions, tinnitus can also be caused by certain medications, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, and some cancer medications. It is important to discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor to determine if they may be contributing to your tinnitus.

Medical condition Symptoms
Ear infections Tinnitus, ear pain, hearing loss, fever
Otosclerosis Hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo
Ménière’s disease Dizziness, hearing loss, tinnitus, ear pressure

If you are experiencing tinnitus, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and discuss available treatment options.

Medications that can cause tinnitus

Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing sound that occurs in the ears. In some cases, medications can cause or worsen tinnitus symptoms. Here are some common medications that can cause ringing in the ears:

  • Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Antidepressants
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Antibiotics, including some aminoglycosides and macrolides
  • Loop diuretics

If you are experiencing tinnitus, it is important to speak with your doctor about any medications that you are taking. They may be able to adjust your dosage or switch you to a different medication that does not cause tinnitus as a side effect.

In addition to medications, there are other factors that can worsen tinnitus symptoms, such as stress, caffeine, and certain foods. By making lifestyle changes and working with your healthcare provider, you can manage your tinnitus and improve your quality of life.

Ear infections and tinnitus

Ear infections are one of the most common causes of tinnitus. When we get an infection in our ear, it can lead to inflammation and damage of the delicate hair cells in the inner ear responsible for transmitting sound to the brain. This damage can cause a ringing sensation in the ear that can last for a few days to a few weeks.

  • The length of ringing in the ear caused by an ear infection can vary depending on the severity of the infection.
  • In some cases, the ringing can persist for several weeks after the infection has been treated.
  • If left untreated, an ear infection can lead to permanent damage of the inner ear, which can lead to chronic tinnitus.

Treatment for an ear infection involves antibiotics and other medications to reduce inflammation and pain. If you experience any symptoms of an ear infection, including earache, fever, or discharge from the ear, seek medical attention immediately to prevent any further damage.

Tinnitus caused by an ear infection may go away on its own, but in some cases, it can persist for months or even years. In these cases, treatment may involve counseling, sound therapy, or other methods to help manage the symptoms of tinnitus and improve quality of life.

Causes of Ear Infections Symptoms of Ear Infections
Bacteria or viruses entering the middle ear Earache, fever, discharge from the ear
Allergies or respiratory infections Difficulty hearing, feeling of pressure in the ear
Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) Itching, redness, swelling in the ear canal

Prevention is key when it comes to ear infections. Keep your ears clean and dry, avoid inserting foreign objects into the ear canal, and seek treatment for any respiratory infections or allergies that may increase your risk of ear infections. By taking care of your ears, you can reduce your risk of developing tinnitus and other ear-related conditions.

Trauma and Tinnitus

Trauma is one of the leading causes of tinnitus, and it usually occurs during a car accident, sports injury, or any other significant physical trauma. The trauma itself, as well as the loud noise that accompanies it, can damage the inner ear and cause ringing in the ears. In some cases, the ringing may only last for a short while, but in others, it can be more long-lasting.

  • In cases where the ringing only lasts for a short while, it is often referred to as acute tinnitus.
  • Chronic tinnitus is often a result of trauma that has caused significant damage to the ear.
  • Those who have suffered from trauma that has led to tinnitus may also experience other symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, and sensitivity to noise.

It is important to note that trauma-induced tinnitus can vary in severity depending on the person and the extent of the injury. Some may experience mild ringing, while others may experience a more severe case of tinnitus. Seeking medical attention is highly recommended if you have suffered from a traumatic injury and are experiencing tinnitus.

Research has shown that the best course of action for those who have suffered from trauma-induced tinnitus is to seek treatment early on. Various treatment options are available, including sound therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and Certain medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants to relieve symptoms may help. Furthermore, taking care of your mental health and practicing stress-reduction techniques can also reduce symptoms in some cases.

Treatment Description
Sound Therapy Using external noise to mask the internal sound of tinnitus
Cognitive-behavioral therapy Talking with a mental health professional to manage the emotional impact of tinnitus.
Antidepressants To relieve symptoms like anxiety or depression related to tinnitus
Noise-cancellation therapy Using white noise or other sounds to cancel out the ringing in the ears.

In conclusion, trauma is a common cause of tinnitus. The severity and duration of the ringing can vary depending on the extent of the injury. If you have suffered from trauma-induced tinnitus, seeking medical attention early can help identify the best course of treatment to manage your symptoms. Using sound therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or noise-cancellation therapy can alleviate symptoms in many cases.

The Link Between Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Many people who experience tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss. In fact, according to the American Tinnitus Association, 80% of those with tinnitus also have some form of hearing impairment.

  • Exposure to loud noises: Prolonged exposure to loud noises is a common cause of both hearing loss and tinnitus. This could include being around loud music, machinery, gunfire, or explosives. This type of hearing loss is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
  • Age-related hearing loss: As we age, our hearing naturally deteriorates. This is called presbycusis and is commonly seen in people over the age of 60. When this occurs, tinnitus can become more noticeable due to the reduction in external noise.
  • Ototoxic medications: Some medications have been linked to tinnitus and hearing loss. These medications are called ototoxic, which means they are toxic to the sensory cells in the ear. Some examples of ototoxic medications include antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and certain painkillers.

Hearing loss and tinnitus can be both emotionally and physically challenging. It is important to address any symptoms of hearing loss or tinnitus and seek help from a hearing healthcare professional. They can determine the cause and offer potential treatments to manage the symptoms.

Some potential treatments include:

Treatment Description
Hearing aids Help amplify external sounds and reduce the perception of tinnitus
Tinnitus retraining therapy A type of therapy that aims to retrain the brain to lessen the perception of tinnitus
Sound therapy Listening to soothing sounds, such as white noise or nature sounds, to mask the tinnitus noise

Treatment Options for Tinnitus

While there is currently no cure for tinnitus, there are several treatment options available that may help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life for those affected. Here are some of the most commonly used treatments:

  • Hearing aids: If tinnitus is caused or worsened by hearing loss, using a hearing aid to amplify external sounds can sometimes reduce the perception of ringing or buzzing.
  • Sound therapy: This involves using external noise to help distract from the internal ringing or buzzing. Devices such as white noise machines, sound generators, or even smartphone apps can provide a low-level background noise to mask tinnitus sounds. Some people may also benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which uses talk therapy to help them change certain behaviors associated with tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): This form of therapy combines sound therapy with counseling to help individuals habituate to the sound of their tinnitus. The goal is to help train the brain to tune out the internal ringing or buzzing sound.
  • Medications: There are certain medications that may be prescribed to help reduce symptoms of tinnitus. These include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and even some blood pressure medications.

In some cases, a combination of treatments may be necessary to achieve the best results. It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to determine which treatment options will be most effective for your individual situation.

In addition to these standard treatment options, some people may consider alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or hypnosis, to help alleviate tinnitus symptoms. While there is limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these treatments, some individuals may find them helpful.

If you are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. While there is no cure for this condition, there are many treatment options available that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

Coping strategies for tinnitus

Tinnitus can be a frustrating and sometimes debilitating condition to cope with. Luckily, there are several strategies that can help individuals manage the symptoms of tinnitus and improve their quality of life.

  • Relaxation techniques: Stress can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, can help manage the symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Noise therapy: Background noise can make tinnitus less noticeable. White noise machines, ambient sound apps, or simply turning on a fan or radio can help mask the ringing or buzzing sounds of tinnitus.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps individuals change negative thought patterns and behaviors. CBT can help individuals with tinnitus learn coping mechanisms and reduce their anxiety and stress levels related to tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): TRT is a type of therapy that aims to retrain the brain’s response to tinnitus. TRT uses sound therapy and counseling to help individuals refocus their attention and reduce the impact of tinnitus on their daily lives.
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine, involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. Some people with tinnitus have reported improvement in their symptoms through acupuncture treatments.
  • Dietary changes: Some individuals with tinnitus have reported improvement in their symptoms after making dietary changes, such as reducing their caffeine or alcohol intake.
  • Exercise: Exercise can help reduce stress levels, which can in turn reduce the severity of tinnitus symptoms. Exercise can also help improve overall physical and mental health.
  • Support groups: Support groups can provide a safe space for individuals with tinnitus to connect with others who are experiencing similar challenges. Support groups can also offer coping strategies and emotional support.

How long does ringing in the ears last?

The duration of tinnitus can vary from person to person. For some individuals, tinnitus may only last a few minutes or hours and may resolve on its own. For others, tinnitus may be a chronic condition that lasts for years.

If tinnitus is the result of an underlying medical condition or exposure to loud noises, the symptoms may improve once the underlying condition is treated or the individual is no longer exposed to the loud noises.

Type of tinnitus Duration
Acute tinnitus Lasts less than 3 months
Subacute tinnitus Lasts between 3-12 months
Chronic tinnitus Lasts longer than 12 months

If you are experiencing tinnitus, it is important to see a healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation. Your healthcare provider can help identify any underlying causes of tinnitus and provide guidance on coping strategies and treatment options.

Prevention of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is often preventable, and there are several measures that you can take to keep your ears healthy and reduce your risk of developing tinnitus. Here are 10 ways to prevent tinnitus:

  • Protect your ears from loud noise. Exposure to loud noise is a leading cause of tinnitus. Wear earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones when you are in a noisy environment, such as a concert, a construction site, or a factory.
  • Avoid using earbuds or headphones at high volume. Listening to music or other audio at high volume through earbuds or headphones can cause hearing damage and contribute to tinnitus.
  • Take breaks from loud noise. If you cannot avoid loud noise, such as in a job that requires exposure to noise, take regular breaks to give your ears a rest.
  • Manage stress. Stress can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, to reduce stress and improve your overall health.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet can help reduce your risk of developing health conditions that can contribute to tinnitus, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can improve circulation and reduce stress, which can help prevent tinnitus and improve your overall health.
  • Avoid smoking. Smoking can narrow blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the ears, which can contribute to tinnitus. Quit smoking to improve your overall health and reduce your risk of tinnitus.
  • Limit your alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol consumption can worsen tinnitus symptoms and damage your hearing over time. Drink alcohol in moderation or avoid it altogether.
  • Monitor your medication use. Some medications can cause tinnitus as a side effect. Talk to your doctor if you experience tinnitus symptoms after starting a new medication.
  • Get regular hearing check-ups. Regular hearing check-ups can help detect hearing loss before it worsens and prevent tinnitus. Talk to your doctor about scheduling a hearing test.


Preventing tinnitus is largely a matter of taking care of your ears and your overall health. By following these 10 tips, you can reduce your risk of developing tinnitus and keep your ears healthy for years to come.

Prevention Tips Explanation
Protect your ears from loud noise Avoid exposure to loud noise or use ear protection.
Avoid using earbuds or headphones at high volume Keep the volume at a safe level and take breaks to prevent hearing damage.
Take breaks from loud noise If you are exposed to loud noise, take regular breaks to give your ears a rest.
Manage stress Stress can worsen tinnitus symptoms, so use relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
Eat a healthy diet A healthy diet can reduce your risk of developing health conditions that can contribute to tinnitus.

Remember to incorporate these prevention tips into your daily routine to keep your hearing healthy and reduce your risk of developing tinnitus.

FAQs about how long does ringing in the ears last:

  1. How long can tinnitus last?
    Tinnitus can last anywhere from a few seconds to several hours, or even longer.
  2. Is tinnitus permanent?
    While some cases of tinnitus might last a short time, there are also some who experience it on a long-term basis which can sometimes be permanent.
  3. Can tinnitus be permanently cured?
    While there is no permanent cure for tinnitus, various treatments have been effective in managing the condition.
  4. Can stress cause tinnitus?
    Yes, stress is a common trigger for tinnitus as it can increase blood pressure and cause muscle tension, leading to increased pressure in the inner ear.
  5. Will tinnitus go away on its own?
    In most cases, tinnitus will go away on its own or after the underlying cause has been treated. However, if it persists, seeking medical attention is advised.
  6. How can tinnitus be managed?
    Tinnitus can be managed through a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatments, such as sound therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and medication.
  7. When should I see a doctor?
    You should see a doctor if your tinnitus is accompanied by dizziness, vertigo, ear pain, or if it interferes with your daily life. Similarly, a doctor must be immediately contacted if you experience sudden hearing loss without any apparent reason along with tinnitus.

Closing Thoughts

We hope these FAQs were able to help you answer your questions regarding how long tinnitus can last. Remember that everyone’s condition is different, and seeking medical help when needed can help you manage tinnitus better. Thanks for reading and visit us again for more helpful content!