Is Your Environment The Cause of Your Tinnitus?

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

It’s not unusual for people to have ringing in their ears, also known as tinnitus. Some estimates indicate that 10 percent of people experience tinnitus at one point 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, usually, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can take the form of other sounds too.

While the prevalence of tinnitus might be evident, the causes are often more opaque. Some of the wide range of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more permanent.

That’s why your environment can be critically important. If the background sound of your particular setting is very loud, you may be harming your hearing. This environmental tinnitus may 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 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 usually 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 in a bit). The second reason is that tinnitus is often a symptom of an underlying condition or injury. In other words, there are many such injuries or conditions that can trigger tinnitus. Tinnitus is quite common for these reasons.

How can the environment affect tinnitus?

Other things can also trigger tinnitus, including ototoxic medications and chemicals. But when it involves “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. For example, some locations are louder than others (traffic noise in some areas can get extremely high). Likewise, anyone who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment worsening their tinnitus.

When assessing the state of your health, these environmental factors are really significant.

As with hearing loss, noise-induced damage can eventually trigger tinnitus symptoms. In these cases, the resulting tinnitus is often chronic in nature. Here are a few of the most prevalent noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are often 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.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long time-frame. For instance, attending a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes get to a high enough level.
  • Traffic: Traffic in densely populated areas can be a lot louder than you may expect it to be. And noise damage can occur at a lower volume than you might expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these noisy environments can eventually result in hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Music: Many individuals will frequently listen to their music at high volumes. Tinnitus will often be the result if you do this frequently.

Hearing damage can happen at a far lower volume than people generally expect. For this reason, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Noise related tinnitus symptoms can frequently be avoided altogether by doing this.

What should I do if I’m experiencing tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus go away? Maybe, in some instances. But your symptoms may be permanent in some cases. There’s no way to identify which is which at the outset. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage hasn’t happened, resulting in an increased chance of chronic tinnitus down the road.

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 likely occurred. If this is the case, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is essential to prevent further damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • 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 machinery that isn’t in use.
  • Decreasing the amount of time you spend in noisy environments without giving your ears a chance to recover.
  • Using hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. You can also get some degree of protection from noise canceling headphones.

Dealing with symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are often a big distraction and are quite unpleasant for most people who deal with them. As a result, they often ask: how do you calm tinnitus?

You should contact us for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We can help you determine the best way to handle your particular situation. For the majority of cases of chronic tinnitus, there’s no cure. Symptom management may include the following:

  • Retraining therapy: In some instances, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly changing the way you process sound.
  • Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, but instead of boosting sounds, it masks them. Your device will be specially calibrated to mask your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify other sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus.
  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your house can help you tune out your tinnitus in some instances.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be aggravated by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for instance.

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

But tinnitus can be addressed and treated. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to formulate a specific treatment plan for you. A white noise machine, for many, may be all that’s needed. In other cases, a more intensive approach might be necessary.

Set up an appointment to learn how to manage 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.