For people who don’t suffer from tinnitus, there are few conditions more difficult to understand. The problem with tinnitus is that if you are not afflicted with it, you won’t hear, see or feel the symptoms in the same way you would other ailments.
But for the nearly 50 million Americans who experience some form of tinnitus, the problem is very real and can be very difficult to deal with. Tinnitus is best characterized as ringing in the ears, but according to the American Tinnitus Association, it can present sufferers with whistling, hissing, swooshing, clicking, and buzzing. These sounds aren’t detectable by others and that might be the most frustrating part of tinnitus, which can lead to disorientation, delayed diagnosis, confusion, and depression.
While that 50 million number is large, 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 roughly 20 million of those individuals have what’s known as burdensome chronic tinnitus, while another two million suffer from symptoms that are severe and debilitating.
There’s a common link between hearing loss and tinnitus, which is why people often turn to hearing aids to augment their hearing and to drown out the ringing. While a hearing aid has shown to be an effective method of lessening the symptoms associated with tinnitus, there are behavioral changes you can make to reduce the ringing.
Here are 10 things to stay away from if you have tinnitus:
- Some medicines; Over-the-counter medications including aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be really good at soothing pain, but they could actually make your tinnitus symptoms worse. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication like prescription antibiotics or cancer drugs. However, you should always consult with your physician about any problems you’re having before stopping a prescribed medication.
- Alcohol; Your cholesterol and heart health can be positively impacted by drinking a small glass of wine each day, or so the old saying goes. But when it comes to alcohol and tinnitus, you can have too much of a good thing. Drinking too much alcohol raises your blood pressure, which makes the ringing more evident for some people.
- Caffeine; Here again, a rise in tinnitus levels goes along with this influence due to an increase in blood pressure. You will most likely notice a change in sleeping habits if you consume too much caffeine.
- Loud sounds; This one most likely seems obvious, but it bears reiterating that loud noises can exacerbate the sounds you’re already hearing internally. If a scenario happens where you will be subjected to loud noises, be mindful. This includes concerts, loud restaurants, and construction sites. Consider protecting your ears with earplugs if you can’t steer clear of the noise. Earplugs can be particularly helpful for individuals whose job involves using loud machinery.
- Dangerous blood pressure levels; If you want to keep your tinnitus under control you should keep track of your blood pressure which can also help protect you from other ailments. It’s important to note that both high and low blood pressure levels can make your tinnitus worse, so you should be careful about consistently checking your blood pressure.
- Excess earwax; In the grand scheme of how your ears work, it’s a known fact that earwax helpful. But actually dirt is trapped and our ears are protected by this gunk that we hate. That said, too much accumulation can make tinnitus worse. To make certain it doesn’t build up to an unsafe amount, your doctor can clean some of it out and help with prevention.
- Jaw issues; You should see a doctor if you have jaw pain and even more so if you are experiencing tinnitus. Since the jaw and ears share components like nerves and ligaments, alleviating jaw pain might have an effect on your tinnitus.
- Smoking; Smoking is another habit that can increase your blood pressure. What’s more, it can shrink the blood vessels to the ears, which can make tinnitus symptoms more severe.
- Poor sleeping habits; When mom said you should get your eight hours of sleep each night, she wasn’t joking. Getting an adequate amount of sleep can assist you to stay away from tinnitus triggers and also offers a wide range of other health benefits.
- 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. Make certain you’re reducing your exposure to ear and sinus infections because they have been known to worsen tinnitus.
Even though there’s no official cure for tinnitus, there are ways to control the symptoms and take back your life. Give these 10 recommendations a try, and you might be surprised with the improvements in your symptoms and your overall health. If these don’t help, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.