For people who don’t have tinnitus, there are few conditions more complex to understand. That’s because unless you actually have tinnitus, you won’t feel, see or hear the symptoms in the same way you might other conditions.
But for the almost 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 buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing and clicking. These sounds aren’t noticeable by others and that could be the most frustrating part of tinnitus, which can lead to disorientation, delayed diagnosis, confusion, and depression.
While that 50 million number is big, 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 approximately 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.
There’s a common link between loss of hearing and tinnitus, which is why people frequently turn to hearing aids to enhance their hearing and to drown out the ringing. There are commonplace things you can do to reduce the ringing along with using hearing aids.
Here are 10 things to avoid if you have tinnitus:
- 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 ailments. It’s important to note that both high and low blood pressure levels can worsen tinnitus, so you should be persistent about regularly checking your blood pressure.
- Loud sounds; This one most likely seems obvious, but it’s worth reiterating that loud noises can worsen the sounds you’re already hearing internally. Be careful of situations where you’ll hear sounds at an increased level. This includes concerts, loud restaurants, and construction sites. Think about shielding your ears with earplugs if you can’t avoid the noise. People who work at loud jobs are particularly benefited by ear plugs.
- Jaw issues; If you’re having jaw pain, you should already be consulting a doctor, but particularly if you also have tinnitus. Alleviating jaw pain may have some effect on your tinnitus since the jaw and ears share nerves and ligaments.
- Infections; There’s a long-standing commentary about the need to cure the common cold, particularly since a lingering cold can quickly change into a sinus infection. Infections in both the ears and sinus have been known to intensify tinnitus, so be sure you’re doing everything you can to reduce your exposure to infections.
- Some medicines; Over-the-counter medicines including aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be really good at easing pain, but they could actually make your tinnitus symptoms worse. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication like prescription antibiotics or cancer drugs. But before you quit taking a medication that was prescribed by your doctor, you should get a consultation.
- Alcohol; There’s a common adage that states drinking a small amount of wine daily can have a positive impact on heart health and cholesterol levels, and that may be true; however, you absolutely can have too much of a good thing when it comes to alcohol and tinnitus. Drinking too much alcohol raises your blood pressure, which makes the ringing more evident for many people.
- Smoking; Your blood pressure can definitely be increased by smoking. Additionally, it can shrink the blood vessels to the ears, which can make tinnitus symptoms more severe.
- Poor sleeping habits; Mom wasn’t joking when she said you needed those eight hours each night. Sleep is another crucial aspect of a healthy life that offers a wide variety of benefits, including helping to avoid tinnitus triggers.
- Caffeine; Here again, a rise in tinnitus levels goes along with this influence due to an increase in blood pressure. You will probably notice a change in sleeping habits if you consume too much caffeine.
- Excess earwax; When it comes to how your ears work, there’s no doubt that earwax helpful. But actually dirt is trapped and our ears are protected by this sludge that we hate. That said, too much buildup can make tinnitus worse. Your doctor might be able to help you reduce some of the buildup and give you prevention advice to ensure it doesn’t accumulate to a dangerous level again.
You can take back your life and manage your tinnitus symptoms even though there is no known cure. Give these 10 recommendations a try, and you might be pleasantly surprised with the improvements in your symptoms and your overall health. If these don’t help, make an appointment with a hearing specialist.