Is Your Environment The Cause of Your Tinnitus?

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

Tinnitus is an incredibly common condition of the ear. Some estimates suggest that 10 percent of people have tinnitus at one time or another, making it one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world. The condition manifests as a sound in the ear that isn’t actually there, usually, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can take the form of other sounds also.

While the prevalence of tinnitus might be obvious, the causes are frequently more cloudy. In part, that’s because tinnitus may result from a wide array of causes, some of which are temporary and others that can be more long lasting.

This is why environmental factors can Have a major impact on tinnitus symptoms. If the background sound of your particular setting is very loud, you may be damaging your hearing. If your tinnitus is a result of damage, it may end up being permanent.

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

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a sound that isn’t actually there. For most people, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing, but it could also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. Usually, the sounds are consistent or rhythmic. Tinnitus will typically clear itself up after a short time period. In less common cases, tinnitus could 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 contribute to tinnitus are also relatively common (more on that in a bit). Root 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 trigger tinnitus. Tinnitus is quite common for these reasons.

How can the environment impact tinnitus?

Other things can also cause tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest culprit. Some settings, such as noisy city streets, can get really loud. Likewise, anyone who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment exacerbating their tinnitus.

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

Noise related damage, as with hearing loss, can cause tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is a result of noise damage, it’s normally chronic and frequently permanent. Here are a few of the most common noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Noise in the workplace: It might come as a surprise that many workplaces, sometimes even offices, are fairly noisy. 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.
  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a pretty common practice. Tinnitus will often be the result if you do this regularly.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes be caused by loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long time-period. Firing a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this type of noise.
  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated places can be a lot louder than you may expect it to be. And you might not even realize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you might expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these loud settings can eventually result in hearing damage, including tinnitus.

Damage to the ears can occur at a much lower volume than people generally expect. For this reason, hearing protection should be used at lower volumes than you might expect. Hearing protection can help you avoid tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

What should I do if I’m experiencing tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus resolve? Well, in some instances it might. But your symptoms might be permanent in some instances. There’s no way to identify which is which at the beginning. If you have tinnitus caused by noise damage, even if your tinnitus does clear up, your risk of having your tinnitus come back and become chronic is much more likely.

People tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage begins to occur, which is the most significant contributing factor to its advancement. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already probably happened. This means that there are a number of things that you should do to change your environment so as to prevent more permanent damage.

For example, you could try:

  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. 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.
  • If possible, try to decrease environmental volume. For example, you could close the windows if you live in a noisy area or turn off industrial machinery that is not in use.

How to handle your symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are frequently a huge distraction and are really uncomfortable for most people who deal with them. As a result, they frequently ask: how do you calm tinnitus?

You should contact us for an appointment if you’re hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We can help you figure out the best way to handle your particular situation. There’s no cure for most forms of chronic tinnitus. 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 precise calibration of your device will depend on your specific symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify other sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the assistance of a specialist, which will progressively retrain the way you process sound.
  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your home can help you tune out your tinnitus in some cases.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been connected to an increase in the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. So taking some time to relax (with meditation, for instance) can sometimes help decrease your tinnitus symptoms.

Tinnitus has no cure. A great first step would be to safeguard your hearing by controlling your environment.

But treating and managing tinnitus is possible. We’ll be able to formulate 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. For others, management might be more intense.

Schedule an appointment to find out how to address 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.