Is Your Tinnitus Being Caused by 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. It’s one of the most common 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 actually there, usually, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can manifest as other sounds too.

Sadly, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as obvious as the symptoms. In part, that’s because tinnitus could be caused by a wide variety 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 environment is very noisy, you may be damaging your hearing. If your tinnitus is a result of damage, it may end up being permanent.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a noise that isn’t really there. For most individuals, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing, but it may also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. The sounds are normally rhythmic in nature. Tinnitus will usually clear itself up after a short time period. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

There are a couple of reasons why tinnitus is so common. The first is that the environmental factors that contribute to tinnitus are also quite common (more on that soon). Underlying conditions and injuries can bring about tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. And there are quite a few conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be rather common.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

Other things can also cause tinnitus, including ototoxic medications and chemicals. But when it involves “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest culprit. Some settings, 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.

When evaluating the state of your health, these environmental factors are very important.

Noise induced damage, as with hearing loss, can trigger tinnitus symptoms. In these cases, the resulting tinnitus is often chronic in nature. Here are a few of the most prevalent noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a pretty common practice. Doing this on a regular basis can often cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are often 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 a lot of people talking in an office.
  • Traffic: You may not even realize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated places. And noise damage can occur at a lower volume than you may expect. Long commutes or regular driving in these loud environments can eventually result in hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes be caused by loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long duration. For instance, attending a concert or using firearms can both trigger tinnitus if the volumes reach a high enough level.

People often wrongly believe damage to their ears will only happen at extreme volume levels. Consequently, it’s crucial to use hearing protection before you think you might need it. Hearing protection can help prevent tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

Will tinnitus go away by itself? Well, in some cases it may. In other situations, your symptoms could be irreversible. There’s no way to identify which is which at the outset. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage hasn’t occurred, resulting in an increased chance of chronic tinnitus in the future.

Individuals tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage starts to occur, which is the most significant contributing factor to its development. Damage has likely already occurred if you’re experiencing tinnitus. This means that there are several things that you should do to change your environment so as to prevent more irreparable damage.

Here are some tips you can try:

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

Managing symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are frequently a big distraction and are really uncomfortable for most individuals who deal with them. This prompts them to try and find a way to ease the intensity of their symptoms.

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

  • Masking device: This is a device that fits like a hearing aid and plays sounds to mask your symptoms. The exact calibration of your device will depend on your specific symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify outside sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing created 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 help of a specialist, which will gradually retrain the way you process sound.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been associated with an increase in the severity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.

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

But tinnitus can be addressed and treated. We’ll be able to establish a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. For some people, dealing with your tinnitus might simply mean making use of a white noise machine. For others, management might be more intense.

Schedule an appointment to learn 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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