For people who don’t suffer from tinnitus, there aren’t many conditions more complex to comprehend. 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 nearly 50 million Americans who experience some form of tinnitus, the problem is very real and is often very difficult to deal with. Tinnitus is best described as ringing in the ears, but according to the American Tinnitus Association, it can present sufferers with whistling, hissing, swooshing, clicking, and buzzing. Maybe the most disheartening part of tinnitus is that these sounds aren’t detectable by others, which can lead to disorientation, delayed diagnosis, confusion, and depression.
While that 50 million number is big, it seems even more astounding when put in the context that it means about 15 percent of the overall public battles with tinnitus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that roughly 20 million of those people have what’s classified as burdensome chronic tinnitus, while another two million suffer from symptoms that are severe and debilitating.
There’s a common connection between hearing loss and tinnitus, which is why people often turn to hearing aids to augment their hearing and to drown out the ringing. There are everyday things you can do to reduce the ringing along with using hearing aids.
Here are 10 things to stay away from if you suffer from tinnitus:
- Some medicines; Over-the-counter medications including aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be very good at easing pain, but they may actually increase your tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication including prescription antibiotics or cancer drugs. But before you stop using a medication that was prescribed by your doctor, you should set up a consultation.
- Loud sounds; This one probably seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating that loud noises can exacerbate the sounds you’re already hearing internally. If a situation appears 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 especially helpful for people whose job involves using loud machinery.
- Smoking; Your blood pressure can definitely be increased by smoking. Also, it can make the tinnitus worse by shrinking the blood vessels to the ears.
- Excess earwax; When it comes to how your ears work, it’s a known fact that earwax plays a positive role. But actually dirt is trapped and our ears are protected by this gunk that we hate. Even so, tinnitus can get worse if too much wax builds up. To make sure it doesn’t build up to a dangerous amount, your doctor can clear some of it out and help with prevention.
- Alcohol; Your cholesterol and heart health can be positively affected by drinking a small glass of wine every day, or so the old saying goes. But with regards to alcohol and tinnitus, you can have too much of a good thing. For many people drinking too much alcohol causes tinnitus symptoms to be louder because it tends to raise your blood pressure.
- Caffeine; Once 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 drink too much caffeine.
- Poor sleeping habits; When mom said you should get your eight hours of sleep each night, she wasn’t joking. Sleep is another essential aspect of a healthy life that offers a wide range of benefits, including helping to avoid triggers of tinnitus.
- 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 controlling your exposure to sinus and ear infections because they have can worsen tinnitus.
- Jaw issues; If you’re having pain in your jaw, you should already be consulting a doctor, but particularly if you also suffer from tinnitus. Relieving jaw pain might have some effect on your tinnitus because the jaw and ears share nerves and ligaments.
- Unsafe blood pressure levels; Monitoring your blood pressure is a vital preventive tip that can help keep you safe from many conditions, but it also just might keep your tinnitus symptoms at bay. You should be persistent about regularly checking your blood pressure because both high and low blood pressure can make tinnitus worse.
You can take back your life and regulate your tinnitus symptoms even though there is no known cure. Give these 10 suggestions a shot, and you might be pleasantly surprised with the improvements in your symptoms and your overall health. If these don’t help, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.