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 common health conditions in the world with some estimates indicating 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.

Sadly, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as obvious as the symptoms. Some of the wide variety of tinnitus causes are temporary, while others can be more long term.

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

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

When you hear sounds that aren’t actually there, that’s tinnitus. For most individuals, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it could also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. Usually, the sounds are consistent or rhythmic. Tinnitus will normally clear itself up after a short time period. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

There are a couple of reasons why tinnitus is so common. The first is that the environmental factors that play a role in tinnitus are also fairly common (more on that in a bit). The second reason is that tinnitus is often a symptom of a root condition or injury. Put simply, there are lots of such injuries or conditions that can cause tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be very common.

How is tinnitus affected by environmental factors?

There are a wide variety of factors that can contribute to tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medications. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. For example, some locations are noisier than others (traffic noise in some areas can get extremely high). Somebody would be at risk of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

Noise induced damage, as with hearing loss, can cause tinnitus symptoms. In these situations, the resulting tinnitus is often chronic in nature. Here are a few of the most common noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated locations can be a lot louder than you may expect it to be. And you might not even realize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you may expect. Long commutes or regular driving in these loud environments can eventually lead to hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are often the source of loud noises. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these places for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of lots of people talking in an office.
  • Music: Many individuals will frequently listen to their music at loud volumes. Doing this on a regular basis can often cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes be caused by loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long duration. Firing a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this type of noise.

Hearing damage can happen at a much lower volume than people usually expect. As a result, it’s important to wear hearing protection before you think you may need it. Noise related tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

Will tinnitus clear up on its own? Well, in some cases it might. In other situations, your symptoms could be permanent. Initially, it’s basically impossible to know which is which. If you have tinnitus due to noise damage, even if your tinnitus does clear up, your chance of having your tinnitus return and become chronic is a lot more probable.

One of the most main contributing factors to the development of tinnitus is that people tend to underestimate the volume at which damage happens 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 further damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • Prevent damage by utilizing hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. You can also get some degree of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • Reducing the volume of your environment where possible. For example, 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 setting, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears breaks.

How to handle your symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are frequently a big distraction and are quite unpleasant for the majority of individuals who deal with them. As a result, they frequently ask: how do you calm tinnitus?

You should call us for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears. We can help you figure out the best way to address your particular situation. There’s no cure for the majority of forms of chronic tinnitus. Here are a number of ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Masking device: This is a device that fits similarly to a hearing aid and plays sounds to mask your symptoms. The precise calibration of your device will depend on your specific symptoms.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the assistance of a specialist, which will slowly retrain the way you process sound.
  • White noise devices: In some cases, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by utilizing a white noise generator around your home.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be worsened by high blood pressure. So taking some time to relax (with meditation, for example) can sometimes help decrease your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify other sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus.

Tinnitus is not curable. A great first step would be to protect your hearing by controlling your environment.

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

Schedule an appointment to find out how to manage your tinnitus symptoms.

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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.

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