Is Your Tinnitus Being Caused by Your Environment?

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

It isn’t uncommon for people to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. Some estimates indicate that 10 percent of people have tinnitus at one point or another, making it one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world. Even though the most common manifestation of tinnitus is a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ear, it can also present as other sounds as well.

While the preponderance 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 long term.

That’s why your environment can be critically important. After all, every environment has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is loud, you may be causing damage to your ears. This environmental tinnitus may sometimes be permanent or it may sometimes respond to changes to make your environment quieter.

Why do so many individuals experience tinnitus?

When you hear sounds that aren’t actually present, that’s tinnitus. For most people, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing, but it may possibly also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. Normally, the sounds are consistent or rhythmic. Tinnitus will typically clear itself up after a short period of time. 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 fairly common (more on that soon). Root conditions and injuries can bring about tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. And there are a wide variety of conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. Tinnitus is quite common for these reasons.

How can the environment impact tinnitus?

Other things can also cause tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. However, when most people discuss “environment” when it comes to tinnitus, they actually mean the noise. Some settings, such as noisy city streets, can get very loud. Somebody would be in danger of environmental tinnitus, for example, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

As with hearing loss, noise-induced damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is a result of noise damage, it’s typically chronic and often permanent. 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 a lot of people talking in an office.
  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated places can be much louder than you may expect it to be. 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.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes be caused by loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long duration. Shooting a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this type of noise.
  • Music: Listening to music at high volumes is a pretty common practice. Doing this on a regular basis can often trigger tinnitus symptoms.

Hearing damage can happen at a far lower volume than people usually expect. Because of this, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Noise induced tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

What should I do if I’m experiencing tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus resolve? Well, in some cases it could. But your symptoms may be permanent in some instances. At first, it’s basically impossible to tell which is which. Likewise, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage has not happened, resulting in an increased chance of chronic tinnitus in the future.

One of the most significant contributing factors to the advancement of tinnitus is that individuals 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 happened. If this is the situation, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is crucial to prevent additional damage.

For instance, you could try:

  • Decreasing the volume of your environment when possible. For example, you could close the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that isn’t in use.
  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to counter damage. You can also get some degree of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • If you’re in a loud setting, limit the amount of exposure time and give your ears rests.

How to handle your symptoms

Lots of individuals who experience chronic tinnitus find the symptoms to be enormously distracting and uncomfortable. As a result, they often ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

You should contact us for an appointment if you’re hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We will be able to evaluate your symptoms and identify how best to manage them. For most cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Symptom management might include the following:

  • 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 outside sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced 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 worsened by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • Retraining therapy: In some instances, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, gradually changing the way you process sound.

There’s no cure for tinnitus. A good first step would be to protect your hearing by controlling your environment.

But addressing 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 people, dealing with your tinnitus might simply mean utilizing a white noise machine. For others, management might be more intense.

Learn how to best control your tinnitus by making an appointment right away!

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.