There are few conditions that are more difficult to understand for people who don’t suffer from tinnitus. 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 ailments.
But for the nearly 50 million Americans who experience some form of tinnitus, the condition is very real and can be very challenging to deal with. Ringing in the ears is the best definition of tinnitus, but according to the American Tinnitus Association, it can present sufferers with buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing and clicking. Maybe the most disheartening part of tinnitus is that these noises aren’t perceptible by others, which can lead to confusion, disorientation, depression and delayed diagnosis.
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 approximately 20 million of those individuals have what’s known as burdensome chronic tinnitus, while another two million experience 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 shown to be a reliable method of lessening the symptoms associated with tinnitus, there are behavioral actions you can take to minimize the ringing.
If you have tinnitus here are 10 things to avoid:
- 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 accumulation can cause tinnitus to get worse. To make certain it doesn’t build up to a dangerous amount, your doctor can clean some of it out and help with prevention.
- Jaw issues; You should contact a doctor if you have jaw pain and even more so if you are experiencing tinnitus. Because the jaw and ears share components such as nerves and ligaments, minimizing jaw pain may have an effect on your tinnitus.
- Alcohol; There’s a well-known adage that states drinking a small glass of wine every day can have a positive effect 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 some people.
- Infections; There’s a long-running commentary about the need to find a cure for the common cold, especially because a lingering cold can quickly change into a sinus infection. Infections in both the ears and sinus have been known to aggravate tinnitus, so be sure you’re doing everything you can to control your exposure to infections.
- Hazardous blood pressure levels; Keeping track of your blood pressure is an important preventive strategy that can help keep you safe from many conditions, but it also just may keep your tinnitus symptoms in check. You should be diligent about routinely checking your blood pressure because both high and low blood pressure can worsen tinnitus.
- Poor sleeping habits; Mom wasn’t kidding around when she said you needed to get eight hours each night. Sleep is another essential aspect of a healthy life that offers a wide variety of benefits, including helping to avoid tinnitus triggers.
- Smoking; Smoking is another habit that can harm your blood pressure. Also, it can make the tinnitus worse by shrinking the blood vessels to the ears.
- Caffeine; Here again, a spike in tinnitus levels comes along with this influence due to an increase in blood pressure. You might also find that too much caffeine alters your sleeping habits.
- Loud noises; It may be obvious but the sounds you’re hearing internally can be exacerbated by loud sounds. Be careful of circumstances where you’ll hear sounds at an elevated level. This can include concerts, loud restaurants, and construction sites. If you can’t stay away from loud settings, consider wearing earplugs to shield you from some of the noise. Individuals who work at loud jobs are especially benefited by ear plugs.
- Certain medicines; Particular medications like aspirin, for example, are good at relieving pain but they might also trigger tinnitus. There are other prescription medications like cancer drugs and antibiotics that can also have an impact on tinnitus. But before you quit using a medication that was prescribed by your doctor, you should get a consultation.
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 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.