Is Your Environment The Cause of Your Tinnitus?

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. Some estimates indicate that 10 percent of people experience tinnitus at one point or another, making it one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world. The condition is experienced as a sound in the ear that isn’t really there, typically, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can manifest as other sounds too.

Sadly, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as obvious 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. After all, every environment has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is loud, you might be doing damage to your ears. This environmental tinnitus might sometimes be long lasting or it may sometimes respond to changes to make your environment quieter.

Why do so many individuals experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a sound that isn’t actually there. For the majority of people, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it might also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. 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. And there are a wide variety of conditions and injuries that can result in tinnitus. Tinnitus is quite prevalent for these reasons.

How is tinnitus affected by environmental factors?

There are a large number of factors that can bring about tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medications. However, when the majority of individuals talk about “environment” in terms of tinnitus, they actually mean the noise. For instance, some neighborhoods are louder than others (traffic noise in some settings can get extraordinarily high). Somebody would be at risk of environmental tinnitus, for example, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

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

  • Traffic: Traffic in densely populated locations can be a lot louder than you might expect it to be. And you might not even recognize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you might expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these loud locations.
  • Music: Many people will often listen to their music at high volumes. Doing this on a consistent basis can often cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • Noise in the workplace: It could come as a surprise that lots of workplaces, sometimes even offices, are fairly loud. Whether it’s industrial equipment or chatty office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around constant workplace noise can eventually result in tinnitus.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long time-frame. Firing a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this kind of noise.

Hearing damage can occur at a much lower volume than people generally expect. Consequently, it’s crucial to wear hearing protection before you think you might need it. Noise induced tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

Will tinnitus go away by itself? Perhaps, in some cases. In other cases, your symptoms may be permanent. There’s no way to identify which is which at the outset. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has gone away for now doesn’t mean that noise damage has not happened, leading to an increased risk of chronic tinnitus in the future.

One of the most significant contributing factors to the development of tinnitus is that individuals tend to underestimate the volume at which damage occurs to their ears. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already probably occurred. If this is the case, finding and changing the source of the noise damage is crucial to prevent additional damage.

Here are some tips you can try:

  • If possible, try to decrease environmental volume. For example, you could close the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial equipment that is not in use.
  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to counter damage. Noise canceling headphones can also be a benefit in this regard.
  • If you’re in a noisy setting, limit the amount of exposure time and give your ears rests.

How to handle your symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are frequently a big distraction and are really uncomfortable for most individuals who deal with them. As a result, they frequently ask: how do you calm tinnitus?

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

  • Retraining therapy: In some cases, 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: The ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus can be drowned out by raising the volume of external sounds with hearing aids.
  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your home can help you tune out your tinnitus in some cases.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be aggravated by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by using relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.

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

But treating and managing tinnitus is possible. We’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. For some people, managing your tinnitus may simply mean utilizing a white noise machine. In other cases, a more intensive approach might be needed.

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.