Is Your Tinnitus Stemming From Your Environment?

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

It isn’t unusual for people to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. Some estimates indicate that 10 percent of people experience tinnitus at one time or another, making it one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world. The condition is experienced as a sound in the ear that isn’t really there, usually, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can manifest as other sounds also.

While the preponderance of tinnitus might be obvious, the causes are often more opaque. Some of the wide array of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more long term.

That’s why your environment can be really important. If the background sound of your particular environment is very loud, you might be harming your hearing. This environmental tinnitus may sometimes be permanent or it may sometimes react to changes to make your environment quieter.

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

When you hear sounds that aren’t actually present, that’s tinnitus. Tinnitus normally manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other sounds, like screeching, thumping, or humming. Usually, the sounds are consistent or rhythmic. For most people, 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 referred to as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus is so common 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 usually a symptom of a root condition or injury. Put simply, there are lots of such injuries or conditions that can trigger tinnitus. Consequently, tinnitus tends to be very common.

How can the environment affect tinnitus?

There are a wide variety of factors that can bring about tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medicines. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest culprit. Some locations, such as noisy city streets, can get quite loud. Someone would be at risk of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

When assessing the state of your health, these environmental factors are really important.

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

  • Music: Many people will frequently listen to their music at loud volumes. Tinnitus will often be the outcome if you do this regularly.
  • Noise in the workplace: It could come as a surprise that many workplaces, sometimes even offices, are pretty loud. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these settings for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of lots of people talking in an office.
  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated places can be much louder than you might expect it to be. And noise damage can happen at a lower volume than you might expect. Long commutes or regular driving in these loud environments can eventually lead to hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short periods, tinnitus can sometimes be the outcome. Firing a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this type of noise.

People often wrongly think damage to their ears will only happen at extreme volume levels. As a result, it’s crucial to use hearing protection before you think you might need it. Noise associated tinnitus symptoms can frequently be avoided altogether by doing this.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus go away? Perhaps, in some cases. In other cases, your symptoms may be permanent. Initially, it’s basically impossible to know which is which. 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 a lot more likely.

One of the most significant contributing factors to the advancement of tinnitus is that individuals tend to underestimate the volume at which damage occurs to their ears. Damage has probably already happened if you’re experiencing tinnitus. If this is the case, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is crucial to prevent further damage.

For instance, you could try:

  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to counter damage. You can also get some degree of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • Lowering the volume of your environment when possible. For instance, you could close the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that is not in use.
  • If you’re in a noisy setting, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears breaks.

How to deal with your symptoms

Many people who experience persistent tinnitus find the symptoms to be enormously disruptive and uncomfortable. This prompts them to try and find a way to ease the severity 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 evaluate your symptoms and figure out how best to deal with them. There’s no cure for most types of chronic tinnitus. Symptom management might include the following:

  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify other sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus.
  • Masking device: This is a device that fits like a hearing aid and plays sounds that mask your symptoms. Your device will be specifically calibrated to mask your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be worsened by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by using relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • White noise devices: Utilizing a white noise device around your house 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.

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

But treating and controlling tinnitus is possible. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to formulate a specific treatment plan for you. A white noise machine, for many, may 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.

Questions? Talk To Us.