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. Some estimates indicate that 10 percent of people have tinnitus at one point 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 too.

Unfortunately, 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 long lasting.

This is why environmental factors can play a major role in tinnitus symptoms. If the background sound of your particular setting is very loud, you may be damaging your hearing. This environmental tinnitus might sometimes be long lasting or it may sometimes respond to changes to make your environment quieter.

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

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a sound that isn’t really there. For the majority of individuals, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it might also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. The sounds are normally rhythmic in nature. For the majority of individuals, tinnitus will manifest over a short period of time before solving itself and vanishing. In less common cases, tinnitus could become effectively permanent, a condition referred to as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus is so prevalent for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can play a role in tinnitus are fairly common. The second reason is that tinnitus is often a symptom of a root condition or injury. And there are quite a few conditions and injuries that can result in tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be very common.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

Other things can also produce tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines 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). Someone would be at risk of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

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

  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Whether it’s industrial equipment or chatty office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around continuous workplace noise can eventually result in tinnitus.
  • Traffic: You might not even recognize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated places. And you may not even recognize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you might expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the result of long commutes in these noisy locations.
  • Music: Many people will frequently listen to their music at loud volumes. Doing this on a regular basis can frequently cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short periods, tinnitus can sometimes be the outcome. For instance, going to a concert or using firearms can both lead to tinnitus if the volumes reach a high enough level.

People frequently wrongly think hearing damage will only happen at extreme volume levels. 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.

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

So, does tinnitus go away? Maybe, in some instances. But your symptoms might be permanent in some cases. There’s no way to know which is which at the outset. Likewise, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage has not happened, resulting in an increased risk of chronic tinnitus down the road.

One of the most significant contributing factors to the development of tinnitus is that people tend to underestimate the volume at which damage happens to their ears. Damage has probably already happened 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 permanent damage.

For instance, you could try:

  • Stop damage by using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be a benefit in this regard.
  • If you’re in a loud setting, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears rests.
  • If possible, try to decrease environmental volume. If you have any machinery that isn’t in use, turn it off, and shut the windows if it’s noisy outside, for instance.

How to manage your symptoms

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

You should give us a call 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 regulate your particular situation. There’s no cure for most types of chronic tinnitus. Here are a number of ways to manage the symptoms:

  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your house can help you tune out your tinnitus in some instances.
  • Masking device: This is a device that fits similarly to a hearing aid and plays sounds to mask your symptoms. Your device will be specifically calibrated to mask your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify outside sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be exacerbated by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for instance.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the help of a specialist, which will progressively retrain the way you process sound.

There’s no cure for tinnitus. A great first step would be to protect your hearing by controlling your environment.

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

Schedule an appointment to learn 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.