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 prevalent health conditions in the world with some estimates suggesting that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one time or another. 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 obvious, the causes are frequently more opaque. Some of the wide array of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more long term.

This is why environmental factors can play a major role in tinnitus symptoms. If the background sound of your particular environment is very noisy, you might be damaging your hearing. If your tinnitus is caused by damage, it may end up being permanent.

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

When you hear noises that aren’t really present, that’s tinnitus. For the majority of individuals, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing, but it could also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. The sounds are usually rhythmic in nature. Tinnitus will usually 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 rather prevalent. 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. Tinnitus is rather prevalent for these reasons.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

Other things can also produce tinnitus, including ototoxic medications and chemicals. However, when the majority of people discuss “environment” when it comes to tinnitus, they really mean the noise. For example, some locations are louder than others (traffic noise in some areas can get extremely 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 related damage, as with hearing loss, can cause tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is caused by noise damage, it’s typically chronic and frequently permanent. Some of the most common noise and environment-related causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Noise in the workplace: Lots of workplaces, including offices, are often the source of loud noises. Whether it’s industrial equipment or chatty office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around continuous workplace noise can eventually lead to tinnitus.
  • Traffic: You might not even recognize how loud traffic can be in densely populated locations. And noise damage can happen at a lower volume than you may expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these noisy settings.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long duration. For example, attending a concert or using firearms can both trigger tinnitus if the volumes reach a loud enough level.
  • Music: Many people will often listen to their music at loud volumes. Doing this on a regular basis can often result in tinnitus symptoms.

Hearing damage can occur at a much lower volume than people usually expect. For this reason, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Hearing protection can help prevent tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

If I’m experiencing tinnitus, what should I do?

Will tinnitus go away by itself? Well, in some instances it could. But your symptoms may be irreversible in some cases. There’s no way to identify which is which at the beginning. Likewise, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage has not happened, leading to an increased chance of chronic tinnitus in the future.

People often underestimate the minimum volume that damage begins to occur, which is the most significant contributing factor to its advancement. Damage has probably already occurred if you’re experiencing tinnitus. If this is the situation, finding and changing the source of the noise damage is crucial to prevent further 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 loud area or turn off industrial machinery that isn’t in use.
  • If you’re in a loud environment, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears rests.
  • Prevent damage by utilizing hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. 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 uncomfortable for most individuals who deal with them. Because of this, they frequently ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

You should give us a call for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears. We will be able to evaluate your symptoms and determine how best to deal with them. For most cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Symptom management may include the following:

  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by amplifying the volume of external sounds with hearing aids.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, only instead of boosting sounds, it masks them. The exact calibration of your device will depend on your particular symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be aggravated by high blood pressure. So taking a little time to relax (with meditation, for example) 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.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the assistance of a specialist, which will slowly retrain the way you process sound.

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

But addressing and controlling tinnitus is possible. We’ll be able to establish a specific treatment plan based on your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. A white noise machine, for many individuals, might be all that’s necessary. For other people, 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.