There is no simple answer to this as tinnitus often goes unreported. For most people, it doesn't have a significant impact on their life as natural habituation occurs for the majority of people. This is why stress and sleep are such big factors when it comes to tinnitus as this affects the brains ability to habituate the tinnitus sounds.
If you have recently acquired bothersome tinnitus then it will help to know that it will probably go away all by itself within a few weeks and even if it doesn't the brain will very likely habituate it to the point where it is rarely noticed. If it is felt that this process is not occurring then support from a Tinnitus UK accredited audiologist will help.
Tinnitus is extremely common and is reported in all age groups with a large percentage of people experiencing some form of tinnitus during their lifetime. It's thought that around 10% experience persistent tinnitus and approximately 1 in 10 of those will find tinnitus has a significant impact on their quality of life.
Tinnitus is more common in people aged over 40, however, it is becoming progressively frequent in younger people. This is likely due to increased daily noise levels and the use of headphones and earphones. If you listen to music through headphones, this can contribute to developing tinnitus. You shouldn’t listen to your music too loud or for too long. You can use the 60/60 rule. This means you should never listen to your music above 60% volume, and you should have a rest after 60 minutes. People who are constantly exposed to loud music can be at risk of tinnitus. This can include people who play in bands, DJs, festival and gig goers. If you work or attend a place that exposes you to loud music you can be at risk of tinnitus, so it's important to be sure you’re wearing the correct protection.
Tinnitus is commonly linked to hearing loss. Two-thirds of people with tinnitus having some level of hearing loss. People who are older are more likely to suffer hearing loss, and are, therefore, more likely to suffer with tinnitus. It is interesting to note that although the prevalence of tinnitus increases with age, the severity does not.
Other factors that can increase the risk of tinnitus are lifestyle choices and occupations that can expose you to loud noises on a daily basis, especially if the correct protection is not used. If you are working with loud machinery. tinnitus can be a risk. You may learn to deal with working around loud noises, but remember the damage is still being done. You can suffer from tinnitus at any stage. Again, make sure you are wearing the correct protection. If you are exposed to loud bangs through work or leisure, this can also result in tinnitus. This is another situation that calls for the correct ear protection.
As you can tell from above, the two main causes of tinnitus are natural hearing loss as we age and noise exposure. Unfortunately, we can't stop ourselves from becoming older but we can avoid loud noises as much as possible and protect are hearing as best we can when we can't avoid it. There are many more less common causes of tinnitus and you can read all about them here.