Is Your Tinnitus Being Caused by Your Environment?

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

It’s not unusual for people to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. It’s one of the most common 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.

While the preponderance of tinnitus may be obvious, the causes are frequently more cloudy. In part, that’s because tinnitus may be caused by a wide array of causes, some of which are temporary and others that can be more permanent.

This is why environmental factors can Have a major impact on tinnitus symptoms. If the background sound of your particular setting is very noisy, you may be damaging your hearing. If your tinnitus is due to damage, it may end up being permanent.

What is tinnitus (and why is it so prevalent)?

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 may also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. Typically, the sounds are consistent or rhythmic. Tinnitus will typically clear itself up after a short time period. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

There are a couple of reasons why tinnitus is so common. Firstly, environmental factors that can play a role in tinnitus are rather common. The second reason is that tinnitus is frequently a symptom of an underlying condition or injury. Put simply, there are lots of such injuries or conditions that can cause tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be rather common.

How is tinnitus affected by environmental factors?

Other things can also produce tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. However, when the majority of individuals talk about “environment” when it comes to tinnitus, they actually mean the noise. Some settings, such as noisy city streets, can get really loud. Someone would be at risk of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

Noise induced damage, as with hearing loss, can cause tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is caused by noise damage, it’s typically chronic and often permanent. Here are some of the most common noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated places can be a lot louder than you might expect it to be. And noise damage can occur at a lower volume than you may expect. Long commutes or regular driving in these noisy settings can eventually cause hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Music: Many individuals will frequently listen to their music at loud volumes. Tinnitus will often be the result if you do this regularly.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long time-period. For instance, attending a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes reach a loud enough level.
  • 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 gabby office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around constant workplace noise can eventually result in tinnitus.

People often wrongly believe damage to their ears will only happen at extreme volume levels. 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 by itself? Maybe, in some cases. In other situations, your symptoms may be permanent. There’s no way to tell which is which at the outset. Likewise, just because your tinnitus has gone away for now doesn’t mean that noise damage has not occurred, resulting in an increased chance of chronic tinnitus in the future.

One of the most significant contributing factors to the development of tinnitus is that people tend to underestimate the volume at which damage occurs to their ears. Damage has probably already happened if you’re experiencing tinnitus. This means that there are a number of things that you should do to change your environment so as to prevent more irreparable damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • Reducing the volume of your environment when possible. If you have any machinery that’s not in use, turn it off, and close the windows if it’s noisy outside, for example.
  • Stop damage by utilizing hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be an asset in this regard.
  • If you’re in a loud environment, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears breaks.

Managing symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are often a big distraction and are quite unpleasant for most individuals who deal with them. This prompts them to attempt to find a way to ease the severity 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 handle your specific situation. There’s no cure for the majority of types of chronic tinnitus. Symptom management might include the following:

  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus can be drowned out by boosting the volume of outside sounds with hearing aids.
  • Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, but instead of amplifying sounds, it masks them. Your device will be specially calibrated to mask your symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the assistance of a specialist, which will progressively retrain the way you process sound.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been connected to an increase in the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. So taking a little time to relax (with meditation, for instance) can sometimes help decrease your tinnitus symptoms.
  • White noise devices: Utilizing a white noise device around your home can help you tune out your tinnitus in some cases.

There’s no cure for tinnitus. That’s why controlling your environment to protect your hearing is a great first step.

But addressing and controlling tinnitus is possible. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan for you. A white noise machine, for many individuals, might be all that’s necessary. For others, management may be more demanding.

Set up an appointment to find out 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.