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

Tinnitus is an exceptionally common condition of the ear. Some estimates indicate that 10 percent of people have tinnitus at one time or another, making it one of the most common health conditions in the world. The condition manifests as a sound in the ear that isn’t actually there, typically, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can manifest as other sounds also.

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 permanent.

This is why environmental factors can play a major role in tinnitus symptoms. If the background sound of your particular setting is very loud, you might be harming your hearing. This environmental tinnitus might sometimes be permanent or it may sometimes respond to changes to make your environment quieter.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

When you hear sounds that aren’t actually there, that’s tinnitus. For the majority of people, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it may possibly also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. The sounds are typically rhythmic in nature. For the majority of individuals, tinnitus will manifest over a short period of time before resolving itself and vanishing. In less common cases, tinnitus may 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 fairly common (more on that in a bit). Underlying conditions and injuries can contribute to tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. And there are lots of conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. Tinnitus is quite common for these reasons.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

Other things can also cause tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. However, when most individuals discuss “environment” in terms of tinnitus, they really mean the noise. For example, some neighborhoods are noisier than others (traffic noise in some settings can get extremely high). Likewise, anybody who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment exacerbating their tinnitus.

When evaluating the state of your health, these environmental factors are very important.

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

  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a pretty common practice. Tinnitus will often be the outcome if you do this frequently.
  • Noise in the workplace: It might come as a surprise that many workplaces, sometimes even offices, are pretty noisy. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these settings for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of a lot of people talking in an office.
  • Traffic: You may not even realize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated places. And noise damage can occur at a lower volume than you may expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these loud settings can eventually cause hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes be caused by loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long duration. Firing a gun or going to a rock concert are instances of this type of noise.

People often wrongly think hearing damage will only occur at extreme volume levels. As a result, it’s important to wear hearing protection before you think you may need it. Hearing protection can help you avoid tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

Will tinnitus clear up by itself? Well, in some cases it might. But your symptoms may be irreversible in some cases. Initially, it’s basically impossible to tell 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.

Individuals tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage starts to happen, which is the most significant contributing factor to its advancement. Damage has likely already happened if you’re experiencing tinnitus. If this is the case, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is essential to prevent additional damage.

For instance, you could try:

  • Stop damage by using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be a benefit in this regard.
  • Decreasing the volume of your environment when possible. For instance, you could close the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that is not in use.
  • Decreasing the amount of time you spend in loud environments without giving your ears a chance to recuperate.

How to deal with your symptoms

Lots of individuals who experience persistent tinnitus find the symptoms to be enormously disruptive and uncomfortable. This prompts them to attempt to find a way to ease the intensity of their symptoms.

You should call us for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears. We can help you determine the best way to address your specific situation. There’s no cure for the majority of kinds of chronic tinnitus. Here are a number of ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Masking device: This is a device that fits similarly to a hearing aid and plays sounds to mask your symptoms. The precise calibration of your device will depend on your specific symptoms.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the help of a specialist, which will progressively retrain the way you process sound.
  • White noise devices: In some instances, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by using 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 produced by tinnitus.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be exacerbated by high blood pressure. So taking some time to relax (with meditation, for instance) can sometimes help reduce your tinnitus symptoms.

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

But treating and managing tinnitus is possible. We’ll be able to formulate a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. A white noise machine, for many individuals, may be all that’s needed. For other people, management might be more demanding.

Make an appointment to find out how to manage 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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