Tinnitus Caused by Loud Noise: Is it permanent? Recovery tips

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Tinnitus Caused by Loud Noise: Is it permanent? Recovery tips

If you’ve been subjected to loud noise and now have tinnitus, you’ll be wondering if and when it will go away — but the answer is not always clear. Yes, noise-induced Tinnitus is very common but is tinnitus after a loud noise permanent? 

Exposure to many kinds of loud noises can damage the delicate parts of the ear responsible for hearing and cause hearing loss that’s temporary or even permanent. It can also lead to tinnitus, that ringing or buzzing sound in one or both ears that many people are unfortunately familiar with; it’s not actually a sound from the outside world at all, but it is frequently annoying if not infuriating.

Ringing in your ears? What does Noise induced tinnitus sound like?

People have different ideas about what noise induced tinnitus sounds like. Some say it’s like the typical ringing sound or similar to the buzzing of bees, while others may describe the condition as a kind of hissing or whooshing noise. Those with severe cases of tinnitus may experience louder and more disturbing noises, making them harder to cope with, including the harsh sounds of grinding metal and blaring sirens.

Whatever the cause and what tinnitus sounds like, it may last two days or up to two weeks or more and can flare up at any time. There’s no cure for it, so if you’re seeking tinnitus treatment, you have to look at the root cause and deal with that.

It could be an ear infection or a buildup of earwax that needs syringing, or it might be due to loud noises you’re frequently exposed to. So can tinnitus from loud noise go away? Let’s take a look.

Why do ears ring after loud noise?

Ears ring after loud noise exposure due to the damage or temporary stress on the hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear during a concert, sporting event or any of the stressors as listed below.

These hair cells convert sound waves into electrical signals sent to the brain, and when they are overstimulated by loud sounds, it can lead to temporary or permanent damage, disrupting normal auditory processing.

This damage or stress causes the brain to receive abnormal signals, interpreted as ringing, buzzing, or other types of noise, which is what we experience as tinnitus.

The extent of the damage and whether the tinnitus is temporary or permanent depend on the loudness of the noise and the duration of exposure.

So Can Tinnitus from Loud Noise Go Away or Not?

Yes, tinnitus will go away in some instances however, as with all kinds of hearing loss, the extent of the damage will determine if it’s short-lived or something more permanent.

If, for instance, the hair cells in the ear are flattened by too much loud noise or sound energy, you may hear muffled sounds and some level of tinnitus for a few days. They may then straighten back up and work properly again in helping to transfer soundwaves to the inner ear.

But if the sound is too harsh and continues for extended and repeated periods, these tiny hair cells might die, and once they do, they don’t grow back. This can mean a degree of permanent hearing loss that may be accompanied by tinnitus that just will not go away and plays havoc with your concentration at work and elsewhere.

How long does tinnitus last after loud noise exposure?

In many cases, tinnitus that results from a single, short-term exposure to loud noise may last from a few minutes to a few hours, and it often resolves on its own without any medical intervention. We’ve all experienced a loud event or concert and have woken up the next day completely healed – albeit with a sore head!

However, if the noise exposure is particularly loud or if you’re exposed for a long period of time – the tinnitus can last for several days or even longer.

For some individuals, repeated exposure to loud noises can lead to persistent tinnitus that lasts for months or even becomes a permanent condition (read more about this below). The risk of developing long-lasting tinnitus increases with the level of noise exposure and the frequency of such exposures.

How do I know if tinnitus is permanent?

You’ll only know if your tinnitus from loud noise exposure is permanent after a professional evaluation. Here are some questions to ask to determine whether you have a severe case of noise induced tinnitus:

  • Have you had tinnitus for more than 6 months? Tinnitus that persists for more than six months may be considered chronic and potentially permanent. However, the onset pattern and duration are individual, and only a healthcare professional can provide a more accurate prognosis.
  • Is tinnitus in response to an event? Identifying the cause of tinnitus is crucial. If it’s due to exposure to loud noise, there’s a chance it might improve over time, especially if the exposure is not repeated. However, if it’s related to age-related hearing loss or an injury to the ear, it might be more likely to be permanent.
  • Do you have hearing accompanying loss? Often, tinnitus is accompanied by some degree of hearing loss. If the hearing loss is permanent, there’s a higher chance that the tinnitus associated with it might also be permanent.
  • Has your tinnitus lessened with treatment? Some treatments can help manage tinnitus, including sound therapy, counselling, and, in some cases, medications. If these treatments significantly reduce the symptoms, it might indicate that the tinnitus is more manageable, though not necessarily temporary.
  • What are the results of your medical assessment? A thorough evaluation by an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor can provide insights into the nature of your tinnitus. This may include hearing tests, imaging studies like MRI or CT scans (if a structural problem is suspected), and other assessments to rule out reversible causes or to diagnose conditions that might suggest a more permanent situation.
  • Have you seen improvement over time? Some people experience a spontaneous improvement in their tinnitus, especially if it was caused by a temporary condition like exposure to loud noise or an ear infection. A lack of improvement over a significant period, despite avoiding further noise exposure and following treatment advice, might suggest permanence.

A note from our Audiologist 

Lee Fletcher“I cannot stress enough the importance of protecting our hearing from the risks associated with loud noise exposure. Prolonged or intense exposure to noise can cause permanent damage which can be a very distressing experience. Prevention is key; using ear protection in noisy environments and moderating the volume of personal audio devices are simple yet effective strategies. For those already experiencing tinnitus, a range of treatments including sound therapy, hearing aids, or our groundbreaking tinnitus treatment are great options. These approaches aim not only to manage the symptoms but also to improve quality of life. Remember, your hearing is precious – protecting it today can prevent the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus tomorrow.” 

Lee Fletcher Regain Hearing (RHAD), (BSHAA), FdA

What Kinds of Loud Noise Can Cause Tinnitus?

We encounter many kinds of sounds and noises during the day, and not all of them are kind to our ears and hearing. Even the apparently simple and relatively sedate act of cutting the grass with a petrol lawnmower and the loud noise it produces can be too much for the delicate hairs in the ear that are part of the hearing process.

  • Industrial noise – Petrol lawnmowers, along with other common household power tools and equipment, including chainsaws, are around the 90-100 decibel (dB) level, meaning you can only use them for around 15 minutes before damage to your hearing starts to occur unless you use some form of hearing protection.
  • Transportation – Compare that to the noise of an aeroplane on takeoff, which ranges from 120 to 140 dB.
  • Tinnitus from loud music – Can loud music cause tinnitus? Yes of course. High decibel levels, especially from live music events or clubs, can lead to temporary or even permanent tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus after a football match or sports event – Attending sports events in large, noisy stadiums or arenas without hearing protection can lead to tinnitus. The roar of the crowd can be deafening, especially in the larger stadiums.
  • Firearms – Shooting firearms without adequate hearing protection is a common cause of immediate and severe tinnitus. This is why ear protection is given at the driving range.
  • Personal Audio Devices: Listening to music or other audio through your Airpods at high volumes for extended periods is a growing cause of tinnitus among younger people.
  • Fireworks and Explosives: The loud blasts from fireworks or explosives can cause temporary or permanent tinnitus.

It’s not hard to see the noise dangers that we’re exposed to almost daily, and that can cause tinnitus and disrupt our lives.

There is some good news for tinnitus sufferers amid all this thundering noise, however. For instance, here at Regain Hearing, we’ve developed pioneering tinnitus treatment that we’ve been working on for years and can reduce the sounds of tinnitus or get rid of them altogether. So you don’t have to “learn to live with tinnitus”, as doctors can often say to patients, as one of our patients who we successfully treated for the condition says:


If you’re struggling with tinnitus and don’t know where to turn to get relief, you can book a tinnitus treatment consultation with the experts at Regain Hearing today and soon the problem could be gone for good.