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

It’s not uncommon for individuals to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. It’s one of the most common health conditions in the world with some estimates indicating that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one time or another. The condition manifests as a sound in the ear that isn’t really there, normally, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can manifest as other sounds as well.

While the preponderance of tinnitus might be obvious, the causes are frequently more cloudy. Some of the wide range 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 environment has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is noisy, you could be doing damage to your ears. This environmental tinnitus may sometimes be long lasting or it might sometimes respond to changes to make your environment quieter.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a sound that isn’t actually there. 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 typically clear itself up after a short time period. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

Tinnitus is so prevalent 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 soon). Root conditions and injuries can bring about tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. 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 impact tinnitus?

There are a wide variety of factors that can contribute to tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medicines. But when it involves “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. For example, some locations are louder than others (traffic noise in some settings can get extraordinarily high). Somebody 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.

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

  • Music: Many people will frequently listen to their music at loud volumes. Doing this on a consistent basis can often cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • 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 examples of this kind of noise.
  • Noise in the workplace: It may come as a surprise that many workplaces, sometimes even offices, are fairly noisy. Whether it’s industrial equipment or gabby office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around constant workplace noise can eventually result in tinnitus.
  • Traffic: You might not even realize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated places. And you might 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.

People often wrongly think damage to their ears will only occur at extreme volume levels. Because of this, hearing protection should be used at lower volumes than you might expect. Noise induced tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

So, does tinnitus resolve? Maybe, in some cases. In other cases, your symptoms could be permanent. There’s no way to know which is which at the beginning. If you have tinnitus caused by noise damage, even if your tinnitus does go away, your risk of having your tinnitus come back and become chronic is much more likely.

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. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already probably occurred. This means that there are several things that you should do to change your environment so as to prevent more irreparable damage.

For example, you could try:

  • Stop damage by utilizing hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be an asset in this regard.
  • If you’re in a noisy environment, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears breaks.
  • If possible, try to lower environmental volume. For instance, you could close the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial equipment that is not in use.

Managing symptoms

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

If you hear a ringing or buzzing sound, it’s essential to schedule an appointment, especially if the sound won’t go away. We can help you determine the best way to manage your particular situation. There’s no cure for the majority of kinds of chronic tinnitus. Symptom management might include the following:

  • Retraining therapy: In some situations, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, gradually changing the way you process sound.
  • 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 symptoms of tinnitus.
  • White noise devices: In some cases, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by using a white noise generator around your house.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be worsened by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by using relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by raising the volume of external sounds with hearing aids.

Tinnitus is not curable. That’s why controlling your environment to protect your hearing is a practical first step.

But treating and managing tinnitus is possible. We’ll be able to formulate a specific treatment plan based on your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. For some, dealing with your tinnitus may simply mean utilizing a white noise machine. In other situations, a more extensive approach might be necessary.

Make an appointment to find out how to regulate your tinnitus symptoms.

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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.
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