Who is at Risk for Developing Tinnitus?

a woman experiencing slight ear discomfort

Tinnitus is an exceedingly common health complaint that is reported in people of all ages, from older adults to young children and teenagers. 

At one point or another, 30% of people will experience tinnitus, while around 13% of people live with tinnitus on a constant or reoccurring basis; this equates to around one in every eight people. 

Research has shown that out of those who live with persistent or reoccurring tinnitus, for one in ten of these people, tinnitus will have a significant impact on their quality of life

What is tinnitus? 

Tinnitus is the name given to hearing noises that are not being caused by sounds from the outside world. It’s a common heath complaint and is not usually a sign of anything too serious; it can get better by itself or there is a range of treatments that you can try to help manage the problem. 

Anyone living with hearing loss is at greater risk of developing tinnitus, regardless of the cause of their hearing loss. People living with other ear health problems are also at increased risk of developing tinnitus. 

What are some key risks for developing tinnitus? 

There are a number of different lifestyle factors that can impact the risk that a person has of developing tinnitus. For instance, a person who is exposed to loud noises daily – such as someone who works in the building industry for instance, has a greater risk of developing tinnitus. As does someone who plays music extremely loudly on a regular basis – loud music can have a negative impact on ear health. 

What are some of the key risks, besides hearing loss and conditions like Meniere’s Disease?

The key risk factors for developing tinnitus include: 

  • People who are exposed to very loud music on a regular basis, such as people who play in bands, work as DJs and regular concertgoers. 
  • People who work in jobs where loud machinery is used on a consistent basis. 
  • People who have been exposed to loud bangs and noises, through either work or leisure. 
  • People who listen to music with headphones. 

How do you know if you have tinnitus? 

Tinnitus can sound like a range of different noises, including ringing, buzzing, whooshing, humming, hissing, throbbing, music or singing noises. You might hear the noises in one or both of your ears or you might hear them in your head. Tinnitus-associated noises may come and go or they may be constant and you may hear them all of the time. 

What causes tinnitus? 

Often, tinnitus can be traced back to a specific cause or health condition, which is why a lot of people wonder what has caused their tinnitus to occur. There’s also a common question of what are the risk factors for tinnitus and what tends to cause tinnitus to occur. By understanding what the risk factors are for tinnitus, you can also ensure that you are able to avoid certain triggers if there is a trigger in place, that is. 

In most instances, tinnitus is not just tinnitus, it’s a symptom or side effect of having another health condition or problem that is being experienced. The underlying conditions that can lead to tinnitus can include a wide range of health conditions and concerns, from simple problems to more serious diseases. 

One of the main risk factors for tinnitus is having Meniere’s Disease and hearing loss that is noise-induced. These two conditions impact the ear in different ways, with tinnitus sometimes manifesting as a symptom of the underlying condition. The good news is that if these conditions can be managed, then the tinnitus being experienced should be alleviated. 

Should you see an audiologist? 

While tinnitus is often harmless, if it’s an ongoing problem it’s a good idea to seek support from an audiologist. An audiologist can check the general health of your ears and look at whether there is an underlying hearing health problem potentially contributing to your tinnitus. 

If you’re unsure whether you should see an audiologist, it’s a good idea to make an appointment to see an ear specialist if any of the following statements apply: 

  • You have regular tinnitus or constant tinnitus.
  • Your tinnitus symptoms seem to be getting worse.
  • The symptoms of tinnitus are causing you bother, such as making it difficult for you to fall asleep or concentrate properly or is making your feel worried, anxious or depressed. 
  • You have noticed that your tinnitus seems to beat in time with your heartbeat. 

To find out more about life with tinnitus, contact Valley Hearing Center today at 831-240-4162.