Is Your Tinnitus Stemming From Your Environment?

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

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

While the preponderance of tinnitus might be obvious, the causes are frequently more cloudy. Some of the wide array of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more permanent.

This is why environmental factors can Have a major impact on tinnitus symptoms. After all, every environment has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is noisy, you may be causing damage to your ears. If your tinnitus is a result of damage, it may end up being permanent.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

When you hear sounds that aren’t actually there, that’s tinnitus. For most individuals, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it may possibly also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. The sounds are usually rhythmic in nature. Tinnitus will typically clear itself up after a short period of time. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

There are a couple of reasons why tinnitus is so prevalent. The first is that the environmental factors that play a role in tinnitus are also relatively common (more on that soon). Underlying conditions and injuries can bring about tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. Put simply, there are many such injuries or conditions that can result in tinnitus. Tinnitus is rather prevalent for these reasons.

How is tinnitus affected by environmental factors?

Other things can also cause tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. For example, some neighborhoods are noisier than others (traffic noise in some settings can get extremely high). Likewise, anybody who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment exacerbating their tinnitus.

These environmental factors can be exceptionally important when considering your hearing health.

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

  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated locations can be much louder than you might expect it to be. And noise damage can happen at a lower volume than you may expect. Long commutes or regular driving in these noisy settings can eventually lead to hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Music: Many people will frequently listen to their music at high volumes. Tinnitus will frequently be the outcome if you do this frequently.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short periods, tinnitus can sometimes be the outcome. Shooting a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this type of noise.
  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Whether it’s industrial equipment or gabby office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around constant workplace noise can eventually result in tinnitus.

Damage to the ears can happen at a far lower volume than people generally expect. Consequently, it’s important to wear hearing protection before you think you may need it. Noise associated tinnitus symptoms can frequently be avoided altogether by doing this.

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

So, does tinnitus resolve? Well, in some cases it might. In other situations, your symptoms could be irreversible. There’s no way to tell which is which at the beginning. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has gone away for now doesn’t mean that noise damage hasn’t happened, leading to an increased chance of chronic tinnitus in the future.

One of the most significant contributing factors to the advancement of tinnitus is that people tend to underestimate the volume at which damage occurs to their ears. Damage has likely already happened if you’re experiencing tinnitus. If this is the case, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is crucial to prevent additional damage.

For instance, you could try:

  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. Noise canceling headphones can also be a benefit in this regard.
  • If possible, try to lower environmental volume. For example, you could close the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that is not in use.
  • Limiting the amount of time you spend in noisy environments without giving your ears a chance to recover.

Managing symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are often a huge distraction and are quite unpleasant for the majority of people who deal with them. This prompts them to try and find a way to ease the severity of their symptoms.

If you hear a buzzing or ringing sound, it’s essential to set up an appointment, particularly if the sound won’t go away. We can help you figure out the best way to handle your particular situation. For most cases of chronic tinnitus, there’s no cure. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your home can help you tune out your tinnitus in some instances.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been linked to an increase in the severity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, but instead of boosting sounds, it masks them. Your device will be specially calibrated to mask your symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Retraining therapy: In some situations, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly changing the way you process sound.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify outside sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus.

Tinnitus is not curable. That’s why managing your environment to safeguard 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. A white noise machine, for many individuals, may be all that’s required. In other situations, a more intensive approach may be needed.

Schedule 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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