Is Your Environment The Source of Your Tinnitus?

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

It isn’t uncommon for people to have ringing in their ears, also known as tinnitus. It’s one of the most common health conditions in the world with some estimates suggesting that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one time or another. Although the most common manifestation of tinnitus is a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ear, it can also present as other sounds as well.

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

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. If your tinnitus is a result of damage, it could end up being permanent.

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

When you hear sounds that aren’t actually there, that’s tinnitus. Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other sounds, like screeching, thumping, or humming. The sounds are usually rhythmic in nature. Tinnitus will normally clear itself up after a short period of time. 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 contribute to tinnitus are fairly common. Underlying conditions and injuries can contribute to tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. In other words, there are lots of such injuries or conditions that can result in tinnitus. Tinnitus is rather common for these reasons.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

There are a large number of factors that can bring about tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medications. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. Some locations, such as noisy city streets, can get very loud. Likewise, anybody who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment worsening their tinnitus.

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

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

  • Music: Many individuals will frequently listen to their music at high volumes. Doing this on a regular basis can often result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Noise in the workplace: Lots of 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 constant workplace noise can eventually result in tinnitus.
  • Traffic: You may not even recognize how loud traffic can be in densely populated places. And noise damage can occur at a lower volume than you might expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these noisy settings can eventually cause hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short intervals, tinnitus can sometimes be the outcome. Shooting a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this type of noise.

Hearing damage can occur at a much lower volume than people generally expect. Consequently, it’s essential to wear hearing protection before you think you may need it. Hearing protection can help prevent tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

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

So, does tinnitus go away? Maybe, in some cases. In other situations, your symptoms may be irreversible. There’s no way to identify which is which at the outset. If you have tinnitus caused by noise damage, even if your tinnitus does go away, your chance of having your tinnitus return and become chronic is much more likely.

One of the most main contributing factors to the development of tinnitus is that people tend to underestimate the volume at which damage happens to their ears. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already probably happened. If this is the situation, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is essential to prevent additional damage.

For instance, you could try:

  • Reducing the amount of time you spend in loud environments without giving your ears a chance to recuperate.
  • Stop damage by using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be a benefit in this regard.
  • Reducing the volume of your environment when possible. If you have any machinery that’s not in use, turn it off, and close the windows if it’s noisy outside, for instance.

Dealing with symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are often a huge distraction and are quite unpleasant for most individuals who deal with them. This prompts them to try and find a way to ease the intensity of their symptoms.

You should call us for an appointment if you’re hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing 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 the majority of forms of chronic tinnitus. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify outside sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus.
  • Retraining therapy: In some situations, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly changing the way you process sound.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, but instead of amplifying sounds, it masks them. The exact calibration of your device will depend on your particular symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been connected to an increase in the intensity 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 cases.

Tinnitus is not curable. A great first step would be to safeguard your hearing by managing your environment.

But tinnitus can be addressed and managed. We’ll be able to formulate a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. For some, managing your tinnitus may simply mean making use of a white noise machine. For other people, management may 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.