Is Your Environment The Source of Your Tinnitus?

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

Tinnitus is an incredibly 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 common health conditions in the world. Although the most common manifestation of tinnitus is a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ear, it can also present as other sounds too.

Sadly, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as evident as the symptoms. Some of the wide variety of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more long term.

This is why environmental factors can Have a major impact on tinnitus symptoms. After all, every setting has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is noisy, you could be causing damage to your ears. This environmental tinnitus might sometimes be permanent or it may sometimes react to changes to make your environment quieter.

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

When you hear noises that aren’t actually there, that’s tinnitus. Tinnitus typically manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other noises, like screeching, thumping, or humming. The sounds are normally rhythmic in nature. Tinnitus will normally clear itself up after a short time period. 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. The first is that the environmental factors that play a role in tinnitus are also quite common (more on that in a bit). Root conditions and injuries can contribute to tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. And there are quite a few conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. Tinnitus is quite common for these reasons.

How is tinnitus affected by environmental factors?

Other things can also trigger tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. However, when the majority of people discuss “environment” in terms of tinnitus, they really mean the noise. For instance, some neighborhoods are louder than others (traffic noise in some areas can get extraordinarily high). Likewise, anybody who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment exacerbating their tinnitus.

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

As with hearing loss, noise-related damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is caused by noise damage, it’s normally chronic and frequently permanent. Some of the most prevalent noise and environment-induced causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Traffic: Traffic in densely populated locations can be much louder than you may expect it to be. And you may not even recognize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you may expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these noisy environments can eventually lead to hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Music: Listening to music at high volumes is a fairly common practice. Doing this on a consistent basis can often result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short intervals, tinnitus can sometimes be the outcome. For instance, attending a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes reach a high enough level.
  • Noise in the workplace: Lots of workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these places for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of lots of people talking in an office.

Hearing damage can happen at a far lower volume than people generally expect. As a result, it’s crucial to wear hearing protection before you think you may need it. Noise associated tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

Will tinnitus clear up on its own? Well, in some instances it could. In other cases, your symptoms may be permanent. At first, it’s basically impossible to know which is which. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has gone away for now doesn’t mean that noise damage has not occurred, resulting in an increased risk of chronic tinnitus down the road.

People tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage begins to happen, which is the most significant contributing factor to its development. Damage has likely already happened if you’re experiencing tinnitus. If this is the situation, finding and changing the source of the noise damage is essential to prevent further damage.

Here are some tips you can try:

  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. You can also get some amount of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • If you’re in a loud environment, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears breaks.
  • If possible, try to lower 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 example.

How to deal with your symptoms

Lots of people who experience chronic tinnitus find the symptoms to be tremendously disruptive and unpleasant. This prompts them to attempt to find a way to ease the severity of their symptoms.

If you hear a buzzing or ringing 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 particular situation. There’s no cure for most forms of chronic tinnitus. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been associated with an increase in the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by using relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • Retraining therapy: In some cases, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly modifying the way you process sound.
  • 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.
  • White noise devices: In some cases, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by using a white noise generator around your home.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by amplifying the volume of outside sounds with hearing aids.

Tinnitus has no cure. That’s why managing your environment to safeguard your hearing is a great first step.

But tinnitus can be managed and managed. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan for you. A white noise machine, for many individuals, might be all that’s necessary. For others, management may be more demanding.

Set up 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.