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

It isn’t uncommon for people to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. Some estimates suggest that 10 percent of people experience tinnitus at one point or another, making it one of the most common health conditions in the world. Even though 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 might be obvious, the causes are frequently more opaque. Some of the wide variety 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. After all, every environment has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is loud, you might be causing damage to your ears. If your tinnitus is caused by damage, it could end up being permanent.

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

When you hear noises that aren’t actually present, that’s tinnitus. Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other sounds, like screeching, thumping, or humming. The sounds are typically rhythmic in nature. For the majority of individuals, tinnitus will happen over a short period of time before resolving itself and vanishing. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

Tinnitus is so common for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can play a role in tinnitus are quite common. Root conditions and injuries can contribute to tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. In other words, there are lots of such injuries or conditions that can cause tinnitus. Tinnitus is quite common for these reasons.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

Other things can also cause tinnitus, including ototoxic medications and chemicals. However, when the majority of people discuss “environment” in terms of tinnitus, they really mean the noise. Some locations, such as noisy city streets, can get very loud. Likewise, anyone who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment worsening their tinnitus.

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

Noise related damage, as with hearing loss, can cause tinnitus symptoms. In these cases, the resulting tinnitus tends to be chronic in nature. Here are some of the most common noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a fairly common practice. Doing this on a consistent basis can frequently result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated places can be a lot louder than you might expect it to be. And you may not even recognize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you may expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these loud settings.
  • 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 constant workplace noise can eventually result in tinnitus.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short periods, tinnitus can sometimes be the outcome. For instance, going to a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes reach a high enough level.

Hearing damage can happen at a much lower volume than people usually expect. Because of this, hearing protection should be utilized 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 go away? Perhaps, in some instances. In other cases, your symptoms could be permanent. At first, it’s basically impossible to tell which is which. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage has not occurred, leading to an increased chance of chronic tinnitus in the future.

Individuals tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage begins to occur, which is the most significant contributing factor to its development. Damage has likely already occurred if you’re experiencing tinnitus. This means that there are a number of things that you should do to alter your environment so as to prevent more permanent damage.

For example, you could try:

  • If you’re in a noisy setting, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears rests.
  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. Noise canceling headphones can also be an asset in this regard.
  • If possible, try to lower environmental volume. If you have any machinery that isn’t in use, turn it off, and shut the windows if it’s noisy outside, for example.

Dealing with symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are often a huge distraction and are quite uncomfortable for the majority of people who deal with them. Because of this, they often ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

You should give us a call for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We can help you determine the best way to address your specific situation. There’s no cure for most kinds of chronic tinnitus. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be aggravated by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • Retraining therapy: In some cases, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, gradually changing the way you process sound.
  • White noise devices: Utilizing a white noise device around your home can help you tune out your tinnitus in some instances.
  • Masking device: This is a device that fits like a hearing aid and plays sounds that mask your symptoms. Your device will be specially calibrated to mask your symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus can be drowned out by amplifying the volume of outside sounds with hearing aids.

Tinnitus has no cure. That’s why controlling your environment to protect your hearing is a practical first step.

But tinnitus can be managed and treated. We’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. For some people, dealing with your tinnitus may simply mean utilizing a white noise machine. For other people, management may be more intense.

Learn how to best control 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.