Hearcare  INC., & Associates - Sherman & Gainesville, TX

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

It’s not uncommon for people to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. It’s one of the most common 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 as well.

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

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

Why do so many individuals experience tinnitus?

When you hear sounds that aren’t really there, that’s tinnitus. For the majority of people, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it may possibly also present as rumbling, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. The sounds are normally rhythmic in nature. For the majority of people, tinnitus will occur over a short period of time before solving itself and vanishing. In less common cases, tinnitus might become effectively permanent, a condition known as chronic tinnitus.

There are a couple of reasons why tinnitus is so common. The first is that the environmental factors that contribute to tinnitus are also quite common (more on that soon). Root conditions and injuries can bring about tinnitus symptoms and that accounts for the second reason. Put simply, there are many such injuries or conditions that can cause tinnitus. As a result, tinnitus tends to be quite common.

How can the environment affect tinnitus?

There are a wide variety of factors that can contribute to tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medications. However, when the majority of people talk about “environment” when it comes to tinnitus, they actually mean the noise. Some settings, such as noisy city streets, can get very 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 extremely important.

As with hearing loss, noise-related damage can eventually trigger tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is a result of noise damage, it’s usually chronic and frequently permanent. Here are some of the most common noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Events: If noise is loud enough, even over short stretches, tinnitus can sometimes be the outcome. For instance, attending a concert or using firearms can both lead to tinnitus if the volumes reach a loud enough level.
  • Traffic: You may not even recognize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated places. And you may not even recognize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you may expect. Long commutes or regular driving in these noisy settings can eventually result in hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Noise in the workplace: It could come as a surprise that many workplaces, sometimes even offices, are pretty noisy. Whether it’s industrial equipment or gabby office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around constant workplace noise can eventually lead to tinnitus.
  • Music: Many people will frequently listen to their music at high volumes. Doing this on a regular basis can frequently result in tinnitus symptoms.

People frequently mistakenly believe hearing damage will only happen at extreme volume levels. For this reason, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Noise related tinnitus symptoms can frequently be avoided altogether by doing this.

What should I do if I’m experiencing tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus go away? Perhaps, in some instances. But your symptoms might be irreversible in some instances. There’s no way to tell which is which at the outset. If you have tinnitus because of noise damage, even if your tinnitus does go away, your risk of having your tinnitus come back and become chronic is much more probable.

Individuals tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage starts to happen, which is the most significant contributing factor to its development. 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 essential to prevent additional damage.

Here are some tips you can try:

  • Lowering the volume of your environment when possible. For instance, you could close the windows if you live in a loud area or turn off industrial machinery that is not in use.
  • Reducing the amount of time you spend in noisy environments without giving your ears a chance to recover.
  • Prevent damage by using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be a benefit in this regard.

How to handle your symptoms

Many people who experience chronic tinnitus find the symptoms to be enormously disruptive and uncomfortable. This prompts them to try and find a way to ease the intensity of their symptoms.

You should give us a call for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears. We will be able to evaluate your symptoms and determine how to best manage them. There’s no cure for most kinds of chronic tinnitus. Symptom management might include the following:

  • Hearing aid: The ringing or buzzing created by tinnitus can be drowned out by amplifying the volume of external sounds with hearing aids.
  • Relaxation techniques: High blood pressure has sometimes been linked to an increase in the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. So taking a little time to relax (with meditation, for example) can sometimes help diminish 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 home.
  • Retraining therapy: In some instances, you can work with a specialist to retrain your ears, gradually changing 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.

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

But tinnitus can be managed and treated. Depending on your lifestyle, your hearing, and your tinnitus, we’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan for you. For some people, dealing with your tinnitus might simply mean using a white noise machine. For others, management might 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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