Is Your Tinnitus Stemming From Your Environment?

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

Tinnitus is an incredibly common condition of the ear. It’s one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world with some estimates indicating that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one point or another. The condition is experienced as a sound in the ear that isn’t really there, normally, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can take the form of other sounds too.

Sadly, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as evident as the symptoms. In part, that’s because tinnitus may be caused by a wide variety of causes, some of which are temporary and others that can be more long lasting.

That’s why your environment can be critically important. If the background sound of your particular setting is very loud, you might be damaging your hearing. If your tinnitus is due to damage, it may end up being permanent.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

When you hear sounds that aren’t really there, that’s tinnitus. Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other sounds, like screeching, thumping, or humming. Normally, the sounds are consistent or rhythmic. For most people, tinnitus will occur over a short period of time before resolving itself and vanishing. In less common cases, tinnitus might become effectively permanent, a condition known as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus is so common for a couple of reasons. The first is that the environmental factors that play a role in tinnitus are also quite common (more on that soon). The second reason is that tinnitus is usually a symptom of a root condition or injury. In other words, there are lots of such injuries or conditions that can trigger tinnitus. Tinnitus is quite common for these reasons.

How is tinnitus affected by environmental factors?

Other things can also produce tinnitus, including ototoxic medications and chemicals. However, when most people talk about “environment” when it comes to tinnitus, they really mean the noise. Some settings, such as noisy city streets, can get really loud. Someone would be in danger of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

When assessing the state of your health, these environmental factors are really significant.

As with hearing loss, noise-associated damage can eventually trigger tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is a result of noise damage, it’s usually chronic and frequently permanent. Some of the most common noise and environment-related causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short intervals, tinnitus can sometimes be the result. For instance, attending a concert or using firearms can both trigger tinnitus if the volumes reach a loud enough level.
  • Music: Listening to music at high volumes is a pretty common practice. Doing this on a regular basis can frequently cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • Noise in the workplace: Lots of workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these places for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of lots of people talking in an office.
  • Traffic: You may not even recognize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated places. And noise damage can occur at a lower volume than you might expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these noisy settings.

People often mistakenly believe damage to their ears will only happen at extreme volume levels. Because of this, hearing protection should be used at lower volumes than you may expect. Noise related tinnitus symptoms can frequently be avoided altogether by doing this.

What should I do if I’m experiencing tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus go away? Well, in some cases it could. But your symptoms might be permanent in some instances. There’s no way to identify which is which at the beginning. Likewise, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage hasn’t occurred, resulting in an increased risk of chronic tinnitus in the future.

One of the most main contributing factors to the development of tinnitus is that people tend to underestimate the volume at which damage occurs to their ears. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already likely occurred. This means that there are several things that you should do to alter your environment so as to prevent more irreparable damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • Stop damage by utilizing hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be an asset in this regard.
  • If you’re in a noisy setting, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears breaks.
  • Lowering the volume of your environment when possible. For instance, you could shut the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that is not in use.

How to handle your symptoms

Many individuals who experience chronic tinnitus find the symptoms to be extremely distracting and unpleasant. Because of this, they often ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

You should give us a call for an appointment if you’re hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We can help you determine the best way to manage your specific situation. For most cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Masking device: This is a device that fits like a hearing aid and plays sounds that mask your symptoms. The exact calibration of your device will depend on your specific symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be aggravated by high blood pressure. So taking some time to relax (with meditation, for example) can sometimes help decrease your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify other sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus.
  • White noise devices: Utilizing a white noise device around your house can help you tune out your tinnitus in some cases.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the assistance of a specialist, which will progressively retrain the way you process sound.

Tinnitus has no cure. That’s why controlling your environment to protect your hearing is a great first step.

But treating and managing tinnitus is possible. We’ll be able to establish a specific treatment plan based on your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. For some, dealing with your tinnitus may simply mean using a white noise machine. For others, management may be more demanding.

Make an appointment to find out how to regulate 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.

Stop struggling to hear conversations. Come see us today. Call or Text