Is Your Tinnitus Stemming From Your Environment?

Worried man listening to a ringing in his ear. Tinnitus concept

It’s not unusual for individuals to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. Some estimates suggest that 10 percent of people have tinnitus at one time or another, making it one of the most common health conditions in the world. Although the most common manifestation of tinnitus is a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ear, it can also present as other sounds too.

Unfortunately, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as obvious as the symptoms. Some of the wide range of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more permanent.

That’s why your environment can be critically important. If the background sound of your particular environment is very noisy, you might be harming your hearing. If your tinnitus is a result of damage, it may end up being permanent.

Why do so many individuals experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition in which you hear a sound that isn’t actually there. Tinnitus typically manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other sounds, like screeching, thumping, or humming. Usually, the sounds are constant or rhythmic. For the majority of people, tinnitus will manifest over a short period of time before resolving itself and going away. In less common cases, tinnitus could become effectively permanent, a condition referred to as chronic tinnitus.

There are a couple of reasons why tinnitus is so prevalent. Firstly, environmental factors that can contribute to tinnitus are fairly prevalent. Root conditions and injuries can contribute to tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. In other words, there are many such injuries or conditions that can cause tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be very common.

How is tinnitus affected by environmental factors?

There are a wide variety of factors that can bring about tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medications. But when it involves “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. Some locations, such as noisy city streets, can get really loud. Somebody would be in danger of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

These environmental factors can be incredibly significant when considering your hearing health.

As with hearing loss, noise-induced damage can eventually trigger tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is caused by noise damage, it’s usually chronic and frequently permanent. Some of the most prevalent noise and environment-induced causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short intervals, tinnitus can sometimes be the result. For instance, going to a concert or using firearms can both lead to tinnitus if the volumes get to a loud enough level.
  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these settings for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of lots of people talking in an office.
  • Music: Many individuals will often listen to their music at high volumes. Doing this on a consistent basis can often result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated areas can be much louder than you may expect it to be. And noise damage can happen at a lower volume than you may expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these noisy settings.

Hearing damage can occur at a far lower volume than people generally expect. As a result, it’s essential to use hearing protection before you think you might need it. Hearing protection can help you avoid tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

What should I do if I’m experiencing tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus go away? Perhaps, in some cases. But your symptoms might be permanent in some cases. At first, it’s basically impossible to know which is which. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage hasn’t occurred, leading to an increased chance of chronic tinnitus down the road.

People tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage begins to occur, which is the most significant contributing factor to its advancement. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already likely occurred. If this is the case, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is crucial to prevent additional damage.

Here are some tips you can try:

  • Using hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. Noise canceling headphones can also be a benefit in this regard.
  • Decreasing the volume of your environment where possible. If you have any machinery that’s not in use, turn it off, and shut the windows if it’s noisy outside, for example.
  • If you’re in a noisy setting, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears rests.

How to handle your symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are frequently a big distraction and are really uncomfortable for the majority of individuals who deal with them. As a result, they often ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

You should call us for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We will be able to assess your symptoms and figure out how to best deal with them. For the majority of cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus can be drowned out by raising the volume of outside sounds with hearing aids.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the help of a specialist, which will progressively retrain the way you process sound.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been connected to an increase in the severity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your house can help you tune out your tinnitus in some cases.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, but instead of amplifying sounds, it masks them. The exact calibration of your device will depend on your specific symptoms.

Tinnitus is not curable. That’s why managing your environment to protect your hearing is a practical first step.

But treating and controlling tinnitus is possible. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan for you. A white noise machine, for many, may be all that’s necessary. In other situations, a more extensive approach might be needed.

Set up an appointment to find out how to manage your tinnitus symptoms.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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