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

Tinnitus is an extremely common condition of the ear. It’s one of the most prevalent 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 too.

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

That’s why your environment can be very important. After all, every environment has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is noisy, you could be causing damage to your ears. This environmental tinnitus might sometimes be long lasting or it might sometimes react to changes to make your environment quieter.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition in which you hear a noise that isn’t really there. For most people, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it may perhaps also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. The sounds are usually rhythmic in nature. For most individuals, 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 known as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus is so prevalent for a couple of reasons. The first is that the environmental factors that contribute to tinnitus are also quite common (more on that in a bit). The second reason is that tinnitus is frequently a symptom of a root condition or injury. And there are quite a few conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be rather common.

How can the environment affect tinnitus?

Other things can also trigger tinnitus, including ototoxic medications and chemicals. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest culprit. For example, some locations are noisier than others (traffic noise in some settings can get extremely high). Someone would be in danger of environmental tinnitus, for example, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

As with hearing loss, noise-associated damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. In these situations, the resulting tinnitus tends to be chronic in nature. Some of the most common noise and environment-induced causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Noise in the workplace: It could come as a surprise that many workplaces, sometimes even offices, are fairly noisy. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these places for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of a lot of people talking in an office.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long duration. For instance, going to a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes reach a high enough level.
  • Traffic: You may not even recognize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated places. And noise damage can occur at a lower volume than you may expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these loud settings.
  • Music: Many individuals will frequently listen to their music at loud volumes. Tinnitus will frequently be the result if you do this frequently.

Damage to the ears can occur at a much lower volume than people usually expect. Because of this, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Hearing protection can help you avoid tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

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

Will tinnitus go away on its own? Perhaps, in some cases. But your symptoms may be permanent in some cases. At first, it’s basically impossible to know which is which. If you have tinnitus because of noise damage, even if your tinnitus does go away, your risk of having your tinnitus return and become chronic is much more likely.

One of the most main contributing factors to the advancement 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. This means that there are a number of things that you should do to change your environment so as to prevent more irreparable damage.

For instance, you could try:

  • Lowering the volume of your environment where possible. For example, you could shut the windows if you live in a noisy area or turn off industrial equipment that isn’t in use.
  • Prevent damage by utilizing hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. You can also get some degree of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • Decreasing the amount of time you spend in loud environments without giving your ears a chance to recover.

Managing symptoms

Many individuals 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 intensity of their symptoms.

You should give us a call for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears. We will be able to evaluate your symptoms and identify how best to deal with them. There’s no cure for the majority of kinds of chronic tinnitus. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Retraining therapy: In some situations, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly changing the way you process sound.
  • White noise devices: In some cases, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by utilizing a white noise generator around your house.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify other sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, only instead of boosting sounds, it masks them. The precise calibration of your device will depend on your particular symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be exacerbated by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by using relaxation techniques like meditation, for instance.

Tinnitus has no cure. A great first step would be to protect your hearing by managing your environment.

But tinnitus can be managed and treated. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan for you. For some, managing your tinnitus might simply mean making use of a white noise machine. In other cases, a more intensive approach may be needed.

Schedule an appointment to learn 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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