Is Your Tinnitus Being Caused by Your Environment?

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

It isn’t unusual for people to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. Some estimates indicate that 10 percent of people experience tinnitus at one time or another, making it one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world. 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 may be evident, the causes are frequently more cloudy. Some of the wide range of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more permanent.

That’s why your environment can be very important. If the background sound of your particular environment is very loud, you could be damaging your hearing. This environmental tinnitus might sometimes be permanent or it might sometimes react to changes to make your environment quieter.

Why do so many individuals experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a noise that isn’t actually there. For most people, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing, but it may also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. The sounds are normally rhythmic in nature. 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. The first is that the environmental factors that contribute to tinnitus are also quite common (more on that in a bit). Root conditions and injuries can contribute to tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. In other words, there are many such injuries or conditions that can cause tinnitus. Consequently, tinnitus tends to be very common.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

Other things can also trigger tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. But when it involves “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. For example, some neighborhoods are louder than others (traffic noise in some settings can get extremely high). Somebody would be at risk of environmental tinnitus, for example, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

When evaluating the state of your health, these environmental factors are very significant.

As with hearing loss, noise-associated damage can eventually trigger tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is a result of noise damage, it’s typically chronic and frequently permanent. Here are some of the most prevalent noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated locations can be much louder than you might expect it to be. And you might not even recognize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes 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: 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.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short periods, tinnitus can sometimes be the result. For instance, going to a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes reach a loud enough level.
  • Music: Many people will frequently listen to their music at high volumes. Tinnitus will often be the result if you do this frequently.

Hearing damage can happen at a much lower volume than people generally expect. For this reason, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Noise associated tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

Will tinnitus clear up by itself? Well, in some instances it might. In other cases, your symptoms may be permanent. There’s no way to identify which is which at the beginning. If you have tinnitus due to noise damage, even if your tinnitus does clear up, your risk of having your tinnitus come back and become chronic is much more likely.

One of the most main contributing factors to the advancement of tinnitus is that individuals tend to underestimate the volume at which damage occurs to their ears. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already probably happened. If this is the case, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is essential to prevent further damage.

For instance, you could try:

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

Dealing with symptoms

Many people who experience persistent tinnitus find the symptoms to be enormously distracting and unpleasant. This prompts them to try and find a way to ease the severity of their symptoms.

You should contact us for an appointment if you’re hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We will be able to evaluate your symptoms and determine how to best address them. For most cases of chronic tinnitus, there’s no cure. Symptom management might 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.
  • 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 utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for instance.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, but instead of boosting sounds, it masks them. Your device will be specifically calibrated to mask your symptoms of tinnitus.
  • White noise devices: In some cases, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by utilizing a white noise generator around your home.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the help of a specialist, which will slowly retrain the way you process sound.

Tinnitus has no cure. A great first step would be to protect your hearing by controlling your environment.

But addressing and controlling tinnitus is possible. 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 people, may be all that’s required. For others, management may be more demanding.

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.