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 known as tinnitus. Some estimates suggest that 10 percent of people have tinnitus at one point or another, making it one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world. 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.

Sadly, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as evident as the symptoms. In part, that’s because tinnitus may result from a wide range of causes, some of which are temporary and others that can be more permanent.

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

Why do so many individuals experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a sound that isn’t really there. Tinnitus typically manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other sounds, like screeching, thumping, or humming. The sounds are typically rhythmic in nature. Tinnitus will normally clear itself up after a short period of time. In less common cases, tinnitus might become effectively permanent, a condition known as chronic tinnitus.

There are a couple of reasons why tinnitus is so prevalent. The first is that the environmental factors that play a role in tinnitus are also quite common (more on that soon). The second reason is that tinnitus is usually a symptom of a root condition or injury. And there are quite a few conditions and injuries that can result in tinnitus. Tinnitus is rather prevalent for these reasons.

How can the environment affect tinnitus?

There are a wide variety of factors that can contribute to tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medications. But when it involves “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest culprit. Some settings, such as noisy city streets, can get quite loud. Likewise, anyone who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment worsening their tinnitus.

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

Noise induced damage, as with hearing loss, can activate tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is caused by noise damage, it’s typically chronic and often permanent. Some of the most prevalent noise and environment-induced causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Whether it’s industrial equipment or gabby office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around continuous workplace noise can eventually lead to tinnitus.
  • Traffic: You might not even realize how loud traffic can be in densely populated locations. And you may not even realize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you may expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the result of long commutes in these loud locations.
  • Music: Listening to music at high volumes is a pretty common practice. Tinnitus will frequently be the outcome if you do this regularly.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short intervals, tinnitus can sometimes be the result. Firing a gun or going to a rock concert are instances of this kind of noise.

Hearing damage can occur at a far lower volume than people generally expect. For this reason, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Noise induced tinnitus symptoms can frequently be avoided altogether by doing this.

If I’m experiencing tinnitus, what should I do?

So, does tinnitus go away? Well, in some cases it might. But your symptoms might be permanent in some instances. There’s no way to identify which is which at the outset. Likewise, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage hasn’t occurred, leading to an increased chance of chronic tinnitus in the future.

People often underestimate the minimum volume that damage begins to happen, which is the most significant contributing factor to its development. Damage has most likely 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 example, you could try:

  • Limiting the amount of time you spend in noisy environments without giving your ears a chance to recover.
  • Decreasing the volume of your environment where possible. For instance, you could shut the windows if you live in a noisy area or turn off industrial equipment that isn’t in use.
  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. You can also get some amount of protection from noise canceling headphones.

Dealing with symptoms

Lots of individuals who experience persistent tinnitus find the symptoms to be extremely distracting and unpleasant. As a result, they frequently ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

If you hear a ringing or buzzing sound, it’s important to set up an appointment, especially if the sound doesn’t go away. We can help you figure out the best way to handle your specific situation. There’s no cure for most types of chronic tinnitus. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, only instead of boosting sounds, it masks them. The precise calibration of your device will depend on your specific symptoms.
  • Retraining therapy: In some cases, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, gradually changing the way you process sound.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been connected to an increase in the severity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your home can help you tune out your tinnitus in some instances.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus can be drowned out by amplifying the volume of outside sounds with hearing aids.

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

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 using a white noise machine. In other situations, a more intensive approach may be necessary.

Learn how to best manage your tinnitus by making an appointment right away!

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.