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

It’s not unusual for people to have ringing in their ears, also known as tinnitus. 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. The condition is experienced as a sound in the ear that isn’t actually there, usually, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can take the form of other sounds also.

While the prevalence of tinnitus may be evident, the causes are often more opaque. Some of the wide array 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 setting is very loud, you might be harming your hearing. This environmental tinnitus may sometimes be permanent or it might sometimes respond to changes to make your environment quieter.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition in which you hear a sound that isn’t actually there. For most individuals, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing, but it could also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. Usually, the sounds are steady or rhythmic. Tinnitus will usually clear itself up after a short time period. In less common cases, tinnitus could become effectively permanent, a condition known as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus is so prevalent for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can play a role in tinnitus are quite common. The second reason is that tinnitus is usually a symptom of an underlying condition or injury. Put simply, there are lots of such injuries or conditions that can result in tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be rather 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. However, when the majority of individuals talk about “environment” in terms of tinnitus, they really mean the noise. For example, some locations are noisier than others (traffic noise in some settings can get extraordinarily high). Someone 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-associated damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. In these circumstances, the resulting tinnitus is often chronic in nature. Here are a few of the most common noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Traffic: You might not even recognize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated places. And noise damage can occur at a lower volume than you may expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these loud environments can eventually lead to hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Music: Many people will frequently listen to their music at loud volumes. Doing this on a regular basis can frequently result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long time-frame. Shooting a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this kind of noise.
  • Noise in the workplace: Lots of workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these settings for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of lots of people talking in an office.

People frequently mistakenly believe damage to their ears will only occur at extreme volume levels. As a result, it’s important to use hearing protection before you think you might need it. Hearing protection can help you avoid tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

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

Will tinnitus go away on its own? Well, in some cases it could. In other cases, your symptoms may be permanent. Initially, it’s basically impossible to know which is which. If you have tinnitus caused by noise damage, even if your tinnitus does go away, your chance of having your tinnitus come back and become chronic is much more likely.

Individuals often underestimate the minimum volume that damage starts to occur, which is the most significant contributing factor to its development. Damage has most likely already occurred if you’re experiencing tinnitus. This means that there are several things that you should do to change your environment so as to prevent more irreparable damage.

Here are some tips you can try:

  • Reducing the volume of your environment where possible. For example, you could shut the windows if you live in a noisy area or turn off industrial equipment that is not in use.
  • Stop damage by using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. You can also get some degree of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • Limiting the amount of time you spend in noisy environments without giving your ears a chance to recuperate.

Dealing with symptoms

Many people who experience persistent tinnitus find the symptoms to be tremendously disruptive and uncomfortable. This prompts them to try and find a way to ease the severity of their symptoms.

You should call us for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We will be able to evaluate your symptoms and determine how best to manage them. For most cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the help of a specialist, which will gradually retrain 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 device is similar to a hearing aid, only instead of amplifying sounds, it masks them. Your device will be specially calibrated to mask your symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be aggravated by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by boosting the volume of external sounds with hearing aids.

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

But addressing and managing tinnitus is possible. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to formulate a specific treatment plan for you. For some, managing your tinnitus might simply mean utilizing a white noise machine. In other cases, a more extensive approach might be necessary.

Set up an appointment to learn how to regulate 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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