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

Tinnitus is an extremely common condition of the ear. 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. The condition manifests as a sound in the ear that isn’t really there, typically, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can manifest as other sounds too.

While the preponderance of tinnitus might be evident, the causes are often more cloudy. In part, that’s because tinnitus could be caused by a wide array of causes, some of which are temporary and others that can be more long lasting.

This is why environmental factors can Have a major impact on tinnitus symptoms. After all, every setting has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is loud, you might be causing damage to your ears. If your tinnitus is due to damage, it may end up being permanent.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

When you hear noises that aren’t actually present, that’s tinnitus. For the majority of individuals, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it might also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. Usually, the sounds are steady or rhythmic. For most people, tinnitus will manifest over a short period of time before solving itself and going away. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

Tinnitus is so prevalent for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can play a role in tinnitus are rather common. The second reason is that tinnitus is often a symptom of a root condition or injury. And there are a wide variety of conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be quite common.

How is tinnitus impacted by environmental factors?

Other things can also produce tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest culprit. For example, some neighborhoods are noisier than others (traffic noise in some settings 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 exceptionally significant when considering your hearing health.

As with hearing loss, noise-induced damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. In these cases, the resulting tinnitus tends to be chronic in nature. Some of the most common noise and environment-related causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Noise in the workplace: It might come as a surprise that many workplaces, sometimes even offices, are fairly noisy. 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 outcome. Firing a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this kind of noise.
  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated places can be much louder than you may expect it to be. And you may not even realize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you might expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the result of long commutes in these loud settings.
  • Music: Many individuals will frequently listen to their music at high volumes. Doing this on a regular basis can often result in tinnitus symptoms.

People frequently mistakenly believe hearing damage will only occur at extreme volume levels. Because of this, hearing protection should be used at lower volumes than you might expect. Noise induced tinnitus symptoms can frequently be avoided altogether by doing this.

What should I do if I’m experiencing tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus resolve? Well, in some cases it might. But your symptoms might be permanent in some instances. Initially, it’s basically impossible to know which is which. If you have tinnitus due to noise damage, even if your tinnitus does go away, your risk of having your tinnitus return and become chronic is a lot more likely.

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

For example, you could try:

  • Using hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to counter damage. You can also get some degree of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • If possible, try to lower environmental volume. If you have any machinery that’s not in use, turn it off, and shut the windows if it’s noisy outside, for example.
  • Decreasing the amount of time you spend in loud environments without giving your ears a chance to recover.

Dealing with symptoms

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

You should contact us for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We will be able to assess your symptoms and figure out how to best manage them. There’s no cure for most kinds of chronic tinnitus. Symptom management may include the following:

  • Retraining therapy: In some situations, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly modifying the way you process sound.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be worsened by high blood pressure. So taking a little time to relax (with meditation, for example) can sometimes help reduce your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by raising the volume of external sounds with hearing aids.
  • White noise devices: In some cases, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by using a white noise generator around your home.
  • Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, only instead of amplifying sounds, it masks them. The exact calibration of your device will depend on your particular symptoms.

There’s no cure for tinnitus. A great first step would be to protect your hearing by controlling your environment.

But tinnitus can be addressed and managed. We’ll be able to establish a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. For some, dealing with your tinnitus might simply mean using a white noise machine. For others, management may be more demanding.

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.
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