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

It isn’t unusual for individuals to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. Some estimates suggest that 10 percent of people have 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 actually there, normally, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can take the form of other sounds as well.

While the prevalence of tinnitus may be obvious, 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 critically important. After all, every environment has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is noisy, you could be causing damage to your ears. If your tinnitus is due to damage, it may end up being permanent.

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

When you hear noises that aren’t really there, that’s tinnitus. Tinnitus typically manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other noises, like screeching, thumping, or humming. The sounds are typically rhythmic in nature. For the majority of people, tinnitus will manifest over a short period of time before solving itself and going away. In less common cases, tinnitus could become effectively permanent, a condition known as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus is so common for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can play a role in tinnitus are quite prevalent. Underlying 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 cause tinnitus. Consequently, tinnitus tends to be very common.

How can the environment impact tinnitus?

Other things can also trigger tinnitus, including ototoxic medications and chemicals. However, when most people discuss “environment” when it comes to tinnitus, they actually mean the noise. Some locations, such as noisy city streets, can get really loud. Someone would be in danger of environmental tinnitus, for example, 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-related damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. In these situations, the resulting tinnitus tends to be chronic in nature. Some of the most common noise and environment-induced causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Music: Many people will frequently listen to their music at loud volumes. Doing this on a consistent basis can frequently result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short intervals, tinnitus can sometimes be the result. Shooting a gun or going to a rock concert are instances of this kind of noise.
  • 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 result in tinnitus.
  • Traffic: You might not even recognize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated places. And you might not even recognize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you might expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these noisy settings.

Damage to the ears can happen at a much lower volume than people usually expect. For this reason, hearing protection should be used at lower volumes than you may expect. Noise associated tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

So, does tinnitus go away? Well, in some instances it could. In other cases, your symptoms could be irreversible. There’s no way to identify which is which at the beginning. If you have tinnitus because of noise damage, even if your tinnitus does go away, your chance of having your tinnitus come back and become chronic is much more probable.

Individuals tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage starts to occur, which is the most significant contributing factor to its development. Damage has probably already happened if you’re experiencing tinnitus. If this is the situation, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is essential to prevent further damage.

For instance, you could try:

  • Using hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to prevent damage. Noise canceling headphones can also be an asset in this regard.
  • Decreasing the volume of your environment where possible. For example, you could shut the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial equipment that is not in use.
  • Limiting the amount of time you spend in noisy environments without giving your ears a chance to recuperate.

Dealing with symptoms

Lots of people who experience persistent tinnitus find the symptoms to be extremely disruptive and uncomfortable. Because of this, they frequently ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

If you hear a ringing or buzzing sound, it’s important to make an appointment, particularly if the sound doesn’t go away. We will be able to evaluate your symptoms and figure out how to best manage them. For the majority of cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be worsened by high blood pressure. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • 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 progressively retrain the way you process sound.
  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your home can help you tune out your tinnitus in some instances.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing created 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 safeguard your hearing by managing your environment.

But tinnitus can be addressed and managed. We’ll be able to establish a specific treatment plan based on your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. A white noise machine, for many people, might be all that’s required. For other people, management may be more demanding.

Learn how to best manage 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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