Is Your Environment The Cause of Your Tinnitus?

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

Tinnitus is an exceptionally common condition of the ear. It’s one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world with some estimates suggesting that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one time or another. 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.

Sadly, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as obvious as the symptoms. In part, that’s because tinnitus could be caused by a wide range of causes, some of which are temporary and others that can be more permanent.

That’s why your environment can be very important. If the background sound of your particular setting is very loud, you could be harming your hearing. If your tinnitus is caused by damage, it may end up being permanent.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a sound that isn’t actually there. For the majority of people, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it might also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. The sounds are normally rhythmic in nature. For most people, tinnitus will happen over a short period of time before resolving itself and going away. 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 contribute to tinnitus are also fairly common (more on that in a bit). 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 result in tinnitus. Tinnitus is rather prevalent for these reasons.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

Other things can also trigger tinnitus, including ototoxic medications and chemicals. However, when most people talk about “environment” when it comes to tinnitus, they actually mean the noise. For example, some locations are louder than others (traffic noise in some settings can get extremely high). Likewise, anyone who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment worsening their tinnitus.

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

Noise related damage, as with hearing loss, can activate tinnitus symptoms. In these circumstances, the resulting tinnitus tends to be chronic in nature. Here are some of the most prevalent noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Traffic: Traffic in densely populated locations can be much louder than you may expect it to be. And you might not even recognize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you may expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these loud locations.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short intervals, tinnitus can sometimes be the outcome. For example, going to a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes reach a high enough level.
  • Music: Many individuals will often listen to their music at loud volumes. Doing this on a regular basis can frequently result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Noise in the workplace: It may come as a surprise that many workplaces, sometimes even offices, are pretty loud. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these settings for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of a lot of people talking in an office.

Hearing damage can occur at a far lower volume than people generally expect. Because of this, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Hearing protection can help prevent tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus go away? Maybe, in some instances. In other cases, your symptoms could be permanent. There’s no way to tell which is which at the outset. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage hasn’t happened, leading to an increased chance of chronic tinnitus down the road.

Individuals tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage begins to happen, which is the most significant contributing factor to its advancement. Damage has likely already occurred if you’re experiencing tinnitus. This means that there are a number of things that you should do to change your environment so as to prevent more permanent damage.

Here are some tips you can try:

  • Using hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. You can also get some degree of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • Decreasing the volume of your environment where possible. For instance, you could close the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that isn’t in use.
  • Reducing the amount of time you spend in noisy environments without giving your ears a chance to recuperate.

Dealing with symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are frequently a huge distraction and are quite uncomfortable for most people who deal with them. This prompts them to attempt to find a way to ease the severity of their symptoms.

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

  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the assistance of a specialist, which will gradually retrain the way you process sound.
  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your house can help you tune out your tinnitus in some cases.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be worsened by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by using relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify outside sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus.
  • 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.

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

But addressing and controlling tinnitus is possible. We’ll be able to establish a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. A white noise machine, for many individuals, may be all that’s required. For other people, management might be more demanding.

Learn how to best manage your tinnitus by making an appointment right away!

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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