For people who don’t have tinnitus, there aren’t many conditions more complex to understand. The problem with tinnitus is that if you are not afflicted with it, you won’t see, feel, or hear the symptoms in the same way you would other conditions.
But for the almost 50 million Americans who experience some form of tinnitus, the problem is very real and is often very difficult to manage. Ringing in the ears is the best definition of tinnitus, but according to the American Tinnitus Association, it can present sufferers with whistling, hissing, swooshing, clicking, and buzzing. These sounds aren’t perceptible by others and that could be the most disheartening part of tinnitus, which can lead to disorientation, delayed diagnosis, confusion, and depression.
While that 50 million number is huge, it seems even more staggering when put in the context that it means about 15 percent of the general public battles with tinnitus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that around 20 million of those people have what’s known as burdensome chronic tinnitus, while another two million suffer from symptoms that are extreme and debilitating.
In order to augment their hearing and drown out the ringing, people with tinnitus often turn to hearing aids. While a hearing aid has proven to be a reliable method of minimizing the symptoms linked with tinnitus, there are behavioral actions you can take to reduce the ringing.
Here are 10 things to stay away from if you suffer from tinnitus:
- Certain medicines; Particular medications like aspirin, as an example, are good at relieving pain but they may also induce tinnitus. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication including prescription antibiotics or cancer drugs. However, you should always consult with your doctor about any issues you’re having before dropping a prescribed medication.
- Loud noises; This one most likely seems obvious, but it’s worth reiterating that loud noises can worsen the sounds you’re already hearing internally. If a scenario happens where you will be subjected to loud sounds, be cautious. This includes construction sites, concerts, and loud restaurants. If you can’t avoid loud settings, consider using earplugs to shield you from some of the noise. Earplugs can be particularly helpful for people whose job involves using loud machinery.
- Smoking; Your blood pressure can definitely be raised by smoking. What’s more, it can narrow the blood vessels to the ears, which can make tinnitus symptoms more severe.
- Infections; Since a lingering cold can quickly turn into a sinus infection there has always been commentary about the need to find a cure for it. Be certain you’re reducing your exposure to ear and sinus infections because they have been known to worsen tinnitus.
- Caffeine; Here again, a rise in tinnitus levels goes along with this influence due to a rise in blood pressure. You may also find that too much caffeine alters your sleeping habits.
- Alcohol; There’s a common adage that states drinking a small glass of wine every day can have a positive influence on heart health and cholesterol levels, and that might be true; however, you absolutely can have too much of a good thing with regards to alcohol and tinnitus. For some people drinking too much alcohol makes tinnitus symptoms louder because it tends to increase your blood pressure.
- Jaw issues; You should seek advice from a doctor if you have pain in your jaw and even more so if you are experiencing tinnitus. Reducing jaw pain may have some impact on your tinnitus since the jaw and ears share nerves and ligaments.
- Hazardous blood pressure levels; If you want to keep your tinnitus under control you should monitor your blood pressure which can also help safeguard you from other illnesses. It’s important to note that both high and low blood pressure levels can worsen tinnitus, so you should be careful about regularly checking your blood pressure.
- Poor sleeping habits; When mom said you need to get your eight hours of sleep each night, she wasn’t joking. Getting an adequate amount of sleep can help you to stay away from tinnitus triggers and also offers a wide variety of other health benefits.
- Excess earwax; There’s no doubting that earwax is helpful in the in the overall health of your ears. But actually dirt is trapped and our ears are protected by this gunk that we hate. That said, too much buildup can cause tinnitus to get worse. Your doctor may be able to help you reduce some of the buildup and give you prevention tips to make sure it doesn’t accumulate to a dangerous level again.
Even though there’s no official cure for tinnitus, there are ways to manage the symptoms and take back your life. Give these 10 recommendations a try, and you may be surprised with the improvements in your symptoms and your general health. If these don’t help, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional.