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

Tinnitus is an exceptionally common condition of the ear. It’s one of the most common health conditions in the world with some estimates indicating that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one point or another. The condition is experienced as a sound in the ear that isn’t really there, normally, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can manifest as other sounds also.

While the preponderance of tinnitus may be obvious, the causes are often more cloudy. Some of the wide range of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more long term.

That’s why your environment can be really important. If the background sound of your particular setting is very loud, you may be harming your hearing. 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 in which you hear a noise that isn’t actually there. Tinnitus typically 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. For most individuals, tinnitus will manifest over a short period of time before solving itself and going away. 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 fairly common. The second reason is that tinnitus is frequently a symptom of a root condition or injury. And there are lots of conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. Tinnitus is rather common for these reasons.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

There are a wide variety of factors that can contribute to tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medicines. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. Some locations, such as noisy city streets, can get quite loud. Likewise, anyone who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment exacerbating their tinnitus.

These environmental factors can be incredibly important when considering your hearing health.

As with hearing loss, noise-induced damage can eventually trigger tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is due to noise damage, it’s usually chronic and often permanent. Here are some of the most common noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a pretty common practice. Tinnitus will frequently be the result if you do this regularly.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short intervals, tinnitus can sometimes be the result. Shooting a gun or going to a rock concert are instances of this type of noise.
  • Noise in the workplace: Lots of 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.
  • Traffic: Traffic in densely populated locations can be much louder than you may expect it to be. And noise damage can occur at a lower volume than you might expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these noisy settings can eventually lead to hearing damage, including tinnitus.

Damage to the ears can occur at a much lower volume than people generally expect. For this reason, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you may expect. Noise related tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

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

So, does tinnitus resolve? Well, in some instances it may. In other cases, your symptoms could be permanent. There’s no way to identify which is which at the outset. If you have tinnitus because of noise damage, even if your tinnitus does clear up, your chance of having your tinnitus come back and become chronic is a lot more probable.

Individuals often underestimate the minimum volume that damage starts to happen, which is the most significant contributing factor to its advancement. Damage has most likely already happened if you’re experiencing tinnitus. If this is the case, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is essential to prevent further damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to counter damage. You can also get some degree of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • Decreasing the amount of time you spend in noisy environments without giving your ears a chance to recuperate.
  • If possible, try to lower environmental volume. For instance, you could shut the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that is not in use.

Dealing with symptoms

Many individuals who experience chronic tinnitus find the symptoms to be enormously disruptive and uncomfortable. Because of this, they often ask: how do you calm tinnitus?

If you hear a buzzing or ringing sound, it’s essential to make an appointment, particularly if the sound doesn’t go away. We can help you figure out the best way to regulate your particular situation. There’s no cure for most types of chronic tinnitus. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the assistance of a specialist, which will gradually retrain the way you process sound.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been linked to an increase in the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by using relaxation techniques like meditation, for instance.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by amplifying the volume of outside sounds with hearing aids.
  • White noise devices: Utilizing a white noise device around your house can help you tune out your tinnitus in some instances.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, but instead of amplifying sounds, it masks them. The precise calibration of your device will depend on your particular symptoms.

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

But tinnitus can be addressed and managed. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to formulate a specific treatment plan for you. A white noise machine, for many, may be all that’s necessary. In other cases, a more extensive approach might be needed.

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

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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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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