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

Tinnitus is an incredibly common condition of the ear. Some estimates suggest that 10 percent of people experience tinnitus at one point or another, making it one of the most common health conditions in the world. The condition is experienced as a sound in the ear that isn’t really there, normally, it’s a buzzing or ringing, but tinnitus can manifest as other sounds as well.

Sadly, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as evident as the symptoms. Some of the wide variety 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 loud, you might be doing 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 common)?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a noise that isn’t really there. Tinnitus normally manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other noises, like screeching, thumping, or humming. Typically, the sounds are steady or rhythmic. Tinnitus will normally clear itself up after a short period of time. In less common cases, tinnitus might become effectively permanent, a condition referred to as chronic tinnitus.

Tinnitus is so prevalent for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can play a role in tinnitus are quite prevalent. The second reason is that tinnitus is often a symptom of a root condition or injury. And there are a wide variety of conditions and injuries that can result in tinnitus. Tinnitus is rather prevalent for these reasons.

How is tinnitus affected by environmental factors?

Other things can also trigger tinnitus, including ototoxic medications and chemicals. However, when the majority of people discuss “environment” in terms of tinnitus, they actually mean the noise. For example, some neighborhoods are noisier than others (traffic noise in some settings can get extraordinarily high). Somebody would be in danger of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

Noise induced damage, as with hearing loss, can activate tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is a result of noise damage, it’s normally chronic and frequently permanent. Here are some of the most prevalent noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short periods, tinnitus can sometimes be the result. For example, attending a concert or using firearms can both lead to tinnitus if the volumes reach a loud enough level.
  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a pretty common practice. Doing this on a consistent basis can frequently result in tinnitus symptoms.
  • Noise in the workplace: It might come as a surprise that lots of workplaces, sometimes even offices, are fairly loud. 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 locations can be a lot louder than you may expect it to be. And you may not even realize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you may expect. Long commutes or regular driving in these loud settings can eventually cause hearing damage, including tinnitus.

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

If I have tinnitus, what should I do?

Will tinnitus go away by itself? Maybe, in some cases. But your symptoms may be irreversible in some cases. At first, it’s basically impossible to know which is which. If you have tinnitus because of noise damage, even if your tinnitus does clear up, your chance of having your tinnitus return and become chronic is much more probable.

One of the most main contributing factors to the development of tinnitus is that individuals tend to underestimate the volume at which damage happens to their ears. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already likely happened. If this is the case, identifying and changing the source of the noise damage is crucial to prevent additional damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • If you’re in a noisy environment, limit the amount of exposure time and give your ears breaks.
  • 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 isn’t in use.
  • Prevent damage by using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be a benefit in this regard.

Dealing with symptoms

Lots of individuals who experience persistent tinnitus find the symptoms to be extremely disruptive and uncomfortable. As a result, they often ask: how do you quiet tinnitus?

If you hear a buzzing or ringing sound, it’s important to set up an appointment, particularly if the sound won’t go away. We will be able to assess your symptoms and figure out how to best address them. There’s no cure for most kinds of chronic tinnitus. Symptom management may include the following:

  • White noise devices: Using a white noise device around your home can help you tune out your tinnitus in some cases.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been connected to an increase in the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by utilizing relaxation techniques like meditation, for example.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the assistance of a specialist, which will slowly retrain the way you process sound.
  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus can be drowned out by raising the volume of external sounds with hearing aids.
  • Masking device: This is a device that fits like a hearing aid and plays sounds to mask your symptoms. Your device will be specially calibrated to mask your tinnitus symptoms.

Tinnitus is not curable. That’s why controlling your environment to protect your hearing is a great first step.

But tinnitus can be managed and treated. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to formulate a specific treatment plan for you. For some people, managing your tinnitus may simply mean making use of a white noise machine. In other situations, a more intensive approach may be necessary.

Make an appointment to learn how to address 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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