Call Us Today! 804-477-1630

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

It’s not 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 indicating that up to 10 percent of the population experiences it at one point or another. The condition manifests 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 too.

Unfortunately, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as evident as the symptoms. In part, that’s because tinnitus could be caused by a wide variety 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 setting has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is loud, you could be causing damage to your ears. If your tinnitus is caused by 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. For the majority of individuals, tinnitus manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but it might also present as thumping, humming, screeching, or other sounds as well. Typically, the sounds are consistent or rhythmic. For most individuals, tinnitus will occur over a short period of time before solving itself and vanishing. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

Tinnitus is so common for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can play a role in tinnitus are quite common. The second reason is that tinnitus is usually a symptom of an underlying condition or injury. And there are quite a few conditions and injuries that can result in tinnitus. Tinnitus is quite common for these reasons.

How is tinnitus affected by environmental factors?

There are a wide variety of factors that can contribute to tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medications. However, when the majority of people discuss “environment” when it comes to tinnitus, they really mean the noise. Some locations, such as noisy city streets, can get quite loud. Somebody would be at risk of environmental tinnitus, for instance, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

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

As with hearing loss, noise-associated damage can eventually cause tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is due to noise damage, it’s typically chronic and often permanent. Some of the most prevalent noise and environment-induced causes of tinnitus include the following:

  • Traffic: You might not even recognize how loud traffic can be in densely populated locations. And you might not even realize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you may expect. Long commutes or consistent driving in these noisy settings can eventually result in hearing damage, including tinnitus.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long time-frame. For example, going to a concert or using firearms can both result in tinnitus if the volumes get to a high enough level.
  • Music: Listening to music at high volumes is a pretty common practice. Doing this on a consistent basis can frequently cause tinnitus symptoms.
  • Noise in the workplace: Lots of workplaces, including offices, are often the source of loud noises. Tinnitus can eventually result from being in these settings for eight hours a day, whether it’s industrial equipment or the din of lots of people talking in an office.

People often mistakenly believe hearing damage will only happen at extreme volume levels. As a result, it’s crucial to wear hearing protection before you think you might need it. Hearing protection can help you avoid tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

So, does tinnitus resolve? Well, in some instances it may. In other cases, your symptoms could be permanent. Initially, it’s basically impossible to tell which is which. If you have tinnitus caused by noise damage, even if your tinnitus does clear up, your risk of having your tinnitus return and become chronic is a lot more probable.

People tend to underestimate the minimum volume that damage begins 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 occurred. This means that there are a number of things that you should do to alter your environment so as to prevent more permanent damage.

Here are a few tips you can try:

  • Decreasing the volume of your environment when possible. If you have any machinery that’s not in use, turn it off, and shut the windows if it’s noisy outside, for example.
  • 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 noisy environment, limit the amount of exposure time and give your ears rests.

How to manage your symptoms

Many people who experience persistent tinnitus find the symptoms to be extremely disruptive and unpleasant. This prompts them to try and find a way to ease the intensity of their symptoms.

You should contact us for an appointment if you are hearing a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears. We can help you determine the best way to address your particular situation. For the majority of cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • 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 linked to an increase in the intensity of tinnitus symptoms. Your tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be eased by using relaxation techniques like meditation, for instance.
  • Masking device: This is a device that fits like 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 help of a specialist, which will slowly retrain the way you process sound.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify other sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus.

Tinnitus has no cure. That’s why managing your environment to safeguard your hearing is a practical first step.

But tinnitus can be addressed and treated. We’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan according to your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. A white noise machine, for many, may be all that’s required. In other cases, a more extensive approach might be necessary.

Learn how to best control your tinnitus by making an appointment right away!

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment


Why Are My Ears Ringing?

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.