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. It’s one of the most common health conditions in the world with some estimates suggesting that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one point or another. The condition manifests as a sound in the ear that isn’t really there, normally, 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. Some of the wide range of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more permanent.

That’s why your environment can be really important. After all, every environment has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is noisy, you might be doing damage to your ears. This environmental tinnitus might sometimes be permanent or it might sometimes react to changes to make your environment quieter.

What is tinnitus (and why is it so prevalent)?

When you hear sounds that aren’t really 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 typically rhythmic in nature. For most individuals, tinnitus will manifest over a short period of time before resolving itself and going away. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

Tinnitus is so common for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can contribute to tinnitus are fairly prevalent. The second reason is that tinnitus is often a symptom of an underlying condition or injury. In other words, there are many such injuries or conditions that can result in tinnitus. Consequently, tinnitus tends to be quite common.

How can the environment affect tinnitus?

There are a large number of factors that can contribute to tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medications. However, when the majority of people talk about “environment” in terms of tinnitus, they really mean the noise. For instance, some locations are noisier than others (traffic noise in some areas can get extraordinarily high). Someone would be at risk of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

As with hearing loss, noise-induced damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. In these circumstances, the resulting tinnitus tends to be chronic in nature. Here are some of the most common noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Music: Many people will frequently listen to their music at high volumes. Doing this on a regular basis can frequently trigger 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 might not even realize how loud traffic can be in densely populated locations. 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 locations.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short periods, tinnitus can sometimes be the outcome. For instance, attending a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes reach a loud enough level.

Damage to the ears can occur at a much lower volume than people generally expect. Because of this, hearing protection should be used at lower volumes than you might expect. Noise associated tinnitus symptoms can frequently be avoided altogether by doing this.

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

Will tinnitus go away on its own? Well, in some instances it may. In other situations, your symptoms could be irreversible. At first, it’s basically impossible to know which is which. If you have tinnitus because of noise damage, even if your tinnitus does clear up, your chance of having your tinnitus return and become chronic is a lot more probable.

Individuals often underestimate the minimum volume that damage starts 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 alter your environment so as to prevent more irreparable damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • Decreasing the volume of your environment where possible. For instance, you could shut the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that isn’t in use.
  • Using hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. You can also get some amount of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • If you’re in a noisy environment, limit the amount of exposure time and give your ears breaks.

How to manage your symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are frequently a big distraction and are quite unpleasant for most individuals who deal with them. Because of this, they frequently ask: how do you calm tinnitus?

You should give us a call for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We can help you figure out the best way to address your specific situation. For the majority of cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Symptom management may include the following:

  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify outside sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus.
  • White noise devices: In some instances, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by utilizing a white noise generator around your house.
  • Retraining therapy: In some situations, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly modifying the way you process sound.
  • Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, but instead of boosting sounds, it masks them. The precise calibration of your device will depend on your particular symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been associated with an increase in the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for instance.

Tinnitus is not curable. That’s why controlling your environment to safeguard your hearing is a great 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. A white noise machine, for many people, might be all that’s needed. For other people, management might be more demanding.

Learn how to best control 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.