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

It’s not unusual for people to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. It’s one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world with some estimates indicating that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one time or another. Although the most common manifestation of tinnitus is a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ear, it can also present as other sounds too.

Unfortunately, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as obvious as the symptoms. 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 permanent.

That’s why your environment can be critically important. If the background sound of your particular setting is very noisy, you could be harming your hearing. If your tinnitus is caused by damage, it may end up being permanent.

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

Tinnitus is a condition in which you hear a sound that isn’t actually there. For most people, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing, but it may also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. Usually, the sounds are constant or rhythmic. Tinnitus will usually clear itself up after a short period of time. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

Tinnitus is so common for a couple of reasons. The first is that the environmental factors that play a role in tinnitus are also fairly common (more on that in a bit). Root conditions and injuries can bring about tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. Put simply, there are lots of such injuries or conditions that can trigger tinnitus. Tinnitus is rather common for these reasons.

How can the environment affect tinnitus?

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

When assessing the state of your health, these environmental factors are really significant.

As with hearing loss, noise-induced damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is due to noise damage, it’s typically chronic and frequently permanent. Some of the most prevalent noise and environment-induced causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Music: Many people will often listen to their music at high volumes. Doing this on a consistent basis can often cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • Traffic: Traffic in densely populated locations can be a lot 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. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these loud locations.
  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are often 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.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short intervals, tinnitus can sometimes be the result. Firing a gun or going to a rock concert are instances of this type of noise.

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

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus go away? Perhaps, in some cases. In other situations, your symptoms could be irreversible. There’s no way to know which is which at the beginning. 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 significant contributing factors to the advancement of tinnitus is that individuals 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.

For instance, you could try:

  • Stop damage by utilizing hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. You can also get some amount of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • Decreasing the amount of time you spend in noisy environments without giving your ears a chance to recover.
  • If possible, try to lower environmental volume. For instance, you could close the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that is not in use.

Managing symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are often a huge distraction and are quite uncomfortable for most individuals who deal with them. As a result, they frequently ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

If you hear a ringing or buzzing sound, it’s essential to schedule an appointment, particularly if the sound doesn’t go away. We can help you figure out the best way to regulate your specific situation. There’s no cure for the majority of kinds of chronic tinnitus. Symptom management may include the following:

  • Retraining therapy: In some cases, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, gradually changing the way you process sound.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, only instead of boosting sounds, it masks them. Your device will be specially calibrated to mask your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be exacerbated by high blood pressure. So taking some time to relax (with meditation, for example) can sometimes help decrease your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by boosting the volume of outside sounds with hearing aids.
  • White noise devices: Utilizing a white noise device around your house can help you tune out your tinnitus in some cases.

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

But tinnitus can be addressed and treated. We’ll be able to formulate a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. A white noise machine, for many people, may be all that’s needed. For others, management might be more demanding.

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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