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

It isn’t uncommon for individuals to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. It’s one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world with some estimates suggesting that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one point 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 too.

While the prevalence of tinnitus may be obvious, the causes are often more cloudy. In part, that’s because tinnitus may be caused by a wide range of causes, some of which are temporary and others that can be more permanent.

That’s why your environment can be really important. After all, every setting has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is loud, you could be doing damage to your ears. If your tinnitus is caused by damage, it could end up being permanent.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition in which you hear a noise that isn’t actually there. For most individuals, tinnitus manifests as a buzzing or ringing, but it may possibly also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. The sounds are normally rhythmic in nature. Tinnitus will normally clear itself up after a short period of time. In less common cases, tinnitus may become effectively permanent, a condition known as chronic tinnitus.

There are a couple of reasons why tinnitus is so prevalent. 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. And there are lots of conditions and injuries that can trigger tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be rather common.

How can the environment impact tinnitus?

Other things can also cause tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. Some settings, such as noisy city streets, can get quite loud. Likewise, anyone who works around industrial equipment all day would be at risk of their environment exacerbating their tinnitus.

When evaluating the state of your health, these environmental factors are very important.

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-induced causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a fairly common practice. Doing this on a consistent basis can often result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long duration. Shooting a gun or going to a rock concert are examples of this type of noise.
  • Noise in the workplace: Lots of workplaces, including offices, are often the source of loud noises. Whether it’s industrial equipment or gabby office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around continuous workplace noise can eventually result in tinnitus.
  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated areas can be much 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 might expect. Long commutes or regular driving in these loud environments can eventually cause hearing damage, including tinnitus.

Damage to the ears can occur at a far lower volume than people usually expect. Because of this, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Hearing protection can help you avoid tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

Will tinnitus go away on its own? Well, in some instances it could. But your symptoms may be permanent in some instances. There’s no way to identify which is which at the beginning. If you have tinnitus caused by noise damage, even if your tinnitus does clear up, your risk of having your tinnitus come back and become chronic is a lot more likely.

One of the most significant contributing factors to the advancement of tinnitus is that people tend to underestimate the volume at which damage occurs to their ears. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already likely occurred. If this is the case, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is essential to prevent additional damage.

For instance, you could try:

  • If possible, try to decrease environmental volume. For example, you could shut the windows if you live in a loud 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.
  • If you’re in a loud environment, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears breaks.

Dealing with symptoms

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

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

  • 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 is a device that fits similarly to a hearing aid and plays sounds to mask your symptoms. Your device will be specifically calibrated to mask your symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Retraining therapy: In some cases, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, gradually changing the way you process sound.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by boosting the volume of external sounds with hearing aids.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been connected to an increase in the severity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for instance.

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

But addressing and controlling tinnitus is possible. We’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. For some people, managing your tinnitus may simply mean using a white noise machine. In other situations, a more intensive approach may be necessary.

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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