Is Your Tinnitus Being Caused by Your Environment?

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

Tinnitus is an incredibly common condition of the ear. It’s one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world with some estimates indicating that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one point 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 as well.

While the prevalence of tinnitus might be obvious, the causes are frequently more cloudy. Some of the wide range 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 environment is very loud, you could be damaging your hearing. This environmental tinnitus may sometimes be long lasting or it may sometimes react to changes to make your environment quieter.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a sound that isn’t really there. Tinnitus normally manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other sounds, like screeching, thumping, or humming. Normally, the sounds are constant or rhythmic. Tinnitus will normally clear itself up after a short period of time. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

There are a couple of reasons why tinnitus is so prevalent. Firstly, environmental factors that can contribute to tinnitus are fairly prevalent. Underlying conditions and injuries can bring about tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. And there are quite a few conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. Consequently, tinnitus tends to be very common.

How can the environment impact tinnitus?

Other things can also cause tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. However, when the majority of individuals talk about “environment” in terms of tinnitus, they really mean the noise. For instance, some neighborhoods are noisier than others (traffic noise in some areas can get extraordinarily high). 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 extremely important.

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

  • Traffic: Traffic in densely populated locations can be much louder than you may expect it to be. And noise damage can happen at a lower volume than you may expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these noisy environments can eventually lead to hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Whether it’s industrial equipment or gabby office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around continuous workplace noise can eventually lead to tinnitus.
  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a fairly common practice. Tinnitus will frequently be the outcome if you do this frequently.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long time-frame. Shooting a gun or going to a rock concert are instances of this type of noise.

People frequently wrongly believe hearing damage will only occur at extreme volume levels. For this reason, hearing protection should be used at lower volumes than you might expect. Noise related tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

So, does tinnitus resolve? Well, in some instances it might. But your symptoms might be permanent in some instances. At first, it’s basically impossible to tell which is which. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage hasn’t 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 likely already occurred if you’re experiencing tinnitus. 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 instance, you could close the windows if you live in a noisy area or turn off industrial machinery that isn’t in use.
  • Limiting the amount of time you spend in loud environments without giving your ears a chance to recuperate.
  • Stop damage by using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be a benefit in this regard.

How to handle your symptoms

Many individuals who experience persistent tinnitus find the symptoms to be tremendously distracting and uncomfortable. As a result, they often ask: how do you calm tinnitus?

If you hear a ringing or buzzing sound, it’s important to set up an appointment, particularly if the sound won’t go away. We can help you figure out the best way to regulate your particular situation. For the majority of cases of chronic tinnitus, there’s no cure. Symptom management may include the following:

  • Masking device: This is a device that fits like a hearing aid and plays sounds to mask your symptoms. Your device will be specifically calibrated to mask your tinnitus symptoms.
  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your house can help you tune out your tinnitus in some instances.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by boosting the volume of outside sounds with hearing aids.
  • Retraining therapy: In some situations, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly modifying the way you process sound.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be worsened by high blood pressure. So taking some time to relax (with meditation, for instance) can sometimes help decrease your tinnitus symptoms.

There’s no cure for tinnitus. That’s why managing your environment to safeguard your hearing is a practical first step.

But tinnitus can be addressed and managed. We’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan based on your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. For some, managing your tinnitus may simply mean making use of a white noise machine. In other cases, a more intensive approach might be necessary.

Learn how to best manage 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.