Is Your Environment The Source 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.

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

That’s why your environment can be critically important. After all, every setting has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is noisy, you could be doing damage to your ears. If your tinnitus is a result of damage, it could end up being permanent.

Why do so many individuals experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a noise that isn’t actually there. For most individuals, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it might also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. Usually, the sounds are consistent or rhythmic. For most individuals, tinnitus will happen over a short period of time before resolving itself and vanishing. In less common cases, tinnitus could become effectively permanent, a condition known as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus is so prevalent for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can play a role in tinnitus are quite common. Root conditions and injuries can bring about tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. And there are a wide variety of conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be very common.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

Other things can also trigger 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 extraordinarily high). Somebody would be in danger of environmental tinnitus, for example, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

Noise related damage, as with hearing loss, can activate tinnitus symptoms. In these cases, the resulting tinnitus tends to be chronic in nature. Some of the most prevalent noise and environment-induced causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes be caused by loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long time-period. For example, attending a concert or using firearms can both lead to tinnitus if the volumes get to a loud enough level.
  • Music: Listening to music at high volumes is a fairly common practice. Doing this on a regular basis can often result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Traffic: Traffic in densely populated locations can be much louder than you may expect it to be. And noise damage can happen at a lower volume than you might expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these loud settings can eventually result in hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Noise in the workplace: It might come as a surprise that lots of workplaces, sometimes even offices, are fairly loud. Whether it’s industrial equipment or chatty office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around constant workplace noise can eventually lead to tinnitus.

People frequently mistakenly think damage to their ears will only occur at extreme volume levels. As a result, it’s crucial to use hearing protection before you think you may need it. Hearing protection can help you avoid tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus resolve? Maybe, in some cases. In other cases, your symptoms may be irreversible. There’s no way to identify which is which at the beginning. If you have tinnitus due to noise damage, even if your tinnitus does go away, your risk of having your tinnitus come back and become chronic is much more likely.

Individuals often 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. If this is the case, finding and changing the source of the noise damage is crucial to prevent further damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • 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 isn’t in use.
  • Reducing the amount of time you spend in loud environments without giving your ears a chance to recover.
  • Prevent damage by using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. You can also get some amount of protection from noise canceling headphones.

Dealing with symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are often a huge distraction and are quite uncomfortable for the majority of individuals who deal with them. Because of this, they frequently ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

You should contact us for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears. We can help you determine the best way to handle your specific situation. For the majority of cases of chronic tinnitus, there’s no cure. Here are a number of ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus can be drowned out by boosting the volume of external sounds with hearing aids.
  • White noise devices: Utilizing a white noise device around your home can help you tune out your tinnitus in some cases.
  • Retraining therapy: In some situations, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly modifying the way you process sound.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be aggravated by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • Masking device: This is a device that fits similarly to a hearing aid and plays sounds that mask your symptoms. The precise calibration of your device will depend on your specific symptoms.

There’s no cure for tinnitus. That’s why controlling your environment to safeguard your hearing is a practical first step.

But addressing and controlling tinnitus is possible. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan for you. For some, dealing with your tinnitus might simply mean making use of a white noise machine. For others, management may be more demanding.

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.

Questions? Talk To Us.