Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Is Your Environment The Cause of Your Tinnitus?

Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay | Tinnitus Articles

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

It isn’t 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 suggesting 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, typically, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can manifest as other sounds as well.

While the prevalence of tinnitus might be evident, the causes are frequently more opaque. In part, that’s because tinnitus could result from 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 loud, you could be harming your hearing. If your tinnitus is due to damage, it may end up being permanent.

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

When you hear sounds that aren’t really present, that’s tinnitus. For most people, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it may possibly also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other noises as well. The sounds are normally rhythmic in nature. Tinnitus will typically clear itself up after a short time period. 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 contribute to tinnitus are fairly common. Root conditions and injuries can contribute to tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. Put simply, there are many such injuries or conditions that can result in tinnitus. Consequently, tinnitus tends to be very common.

How can the environment impact tinnitus?

Other things can also cause tinnitus, including ototoxic medicines and chemicals. However, when most individuals discuss “environment” in terms of tinnitus, they actually mean the noise. Some settings, such as noisy city streets, can get very loud. Somebody would be in danger of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

As with hearing loss, noise-associated damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. In these situations, the resulting tinnitus is often chronic in nature. Here are a few of the most prevalent noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these places for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of a lot of people talking in an office.
  • Traffic: Traffic in heavily populated areas can be much louder than you may expect it to be. And you may not even recognize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you may expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the result of long commutes in these noisy settings.
  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a pretty common practice. Doing this on a regular basis can frequently cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short stretches, tinnitus can sometimes be the result. For example, going to a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes reach a high enough level.

Damage to the ears can occur at a much lower volume than people usually expect. Because of this, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you may expect. Noise related tinnitus symptoms can often be avoided altogether by doing this.

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

Will tinnitus clear up on its own? Maybe, in some cases. But your symptoms may be irreversible in some instances. There’s no way to tell which is which at the beginning. Moreover, just because your tinnitus has gone away for now doesn’t mean that noise damage has not happened, leading to an increased chance of chronic tinnitus down the road.

One of the most main 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. This means that there are a number of things that you should do to change your environment so as to prevent more irreparable damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • Wearing hearing protection (either earplugs or earmuffs) in order to counter damage. You can also get some amount of protection from noise canceling headphones.
  • Lowering the volume of your environment when possible. If you have any machinery that isn’t in use, turn it off, and shut the windows if it’s noisy outside, for example.
  • If you’re in a loud setting, regulate the amount of exposure time and give your ears rests.

How to handle your symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are frequently a huge distraction and are really unpleasant for the majority of people who deal with them. Because of this, they frequently ask: how do you calm tinnitus?

You should give us a call for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears. We can help you figure out the best way to regulate your specific situation. For most cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been linked to an increase in the severity of tinnitus symptoms. So taking some time to relax (with meditation, for instance) can sometimes help diminish 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.
  • Retraining therapy: In some situations, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, slowly modifying the way you process sound.
  • Masking device: This is a device that fits similarly to a hearing aid and plays sounds to mask your symptoms. Your device will be specially calibrated to mask your tinnitus symptoms.
  • White noise devices: In some instances, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by utilizing a white noise generator around your house.

There’s no cure for tinnitus. That’s why managing your environment to safeguard your hearing is a practical first step.

But treating and controlling tinnitus is possible. 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 required. For others, management may be more demanding.

Set up an appointment to learn how to regulate your tinnitus symptoms.

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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