There are few conditions that are more difficult to comprehend for people who don’t suffer from tinnitus. That’s because unless you’re afflicted with tinnitus, you won’t feel, see 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 condition is very real and is often 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 whistling, hissing, swooshing, clicking, and buzzing. These sounds aren’t perceptible 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 struggles with tinnitus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that around 20 million of those people have what’s known as burdensome chronic tinnitus, while another two million suffer from symptoms that are severe and debilitating.
There’s a common connection between loss of hearing and tinnitus, which is why people often turn to hearing aids to enhance their hearing and to drown out the ringing. While a hearing aid has proven to be an effective method of lessening the symptoms linked with tinnitus, there are personal actions you can take to minimize the ringing.
Here are 10 things to avoid if you suffer from tinnitus:
- Caffeine; Here again, a rise in tinnitus levels goes along with this influence due to a rise in blood pressure. You will most likely notice a change in sleeping habits if you consume too much caffeine.
- Smoking; Smoking is another habit that can raise your blood pressure. Also, it can make the tinnitus worse by shrinking the blood vessels to the ears.
- Some medicines; Over-the-counter medications like aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be quite good at soothing pain, but they could actually increase your tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication like prescription antibiotics or cancer drugs. But before you stop using a medication that was prescribed by your doctor, you should set up a consultation.
- Alcohol; Your cholesterol and heart health can be positively impacted by drinking a small glass of wine daily, or so the old adage goes. But when it comes 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.
- Loud noises; This one probably seems obvious, but it bears reiterating that loud noises can exacerbate the sounds you’re already hearing internally. Be mindful of situations where you’ll be exposed to sounds at an increased level. This can include construction sites, concerts, and loud restaurants. Think about shielding 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.
- Poor sleeping habits; When mom said you need to get your eight hours of sleep every night, she wasn’t joking. Getting enough sleep can help you to stay away from tinnitus triggers and also offers a wide range of other health benefits.
- Unsafe blood pressure levels; Keeping track of your blood pressure is a vital preventive tip that will help keep you safe from many ailments, but it also just might keep your tinnitus symptoms under control. It’s significant to note that both high and low blood pressure levels can worsen tinnitus, so you should be diligent about routinely checking your blood pressure.
- 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. Infections in both the ears and sinus have been known to worsen tinnitus, so be sure you’re doing everything you can to reduce your exposure to infections.
- Jaw issues; If you’re having jaw pain, you should already be contacting a doctor, but especially if you also have tinnitus. Reducing jaw pain might have some impact on your tinnitus since the jaw and ears share nerves and ligaments.
- Excess earwax; In the grand scheme of 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 sludge that we hate. Even so, tinnitus can get worse if too much wax builds up. To make sure it doesn’t accumulate to a dangerous amount, your doctor can clear some of it out and help with prevention.
You can take back your life and regulate your tinnitus symptoms even though there is no official cure. Give these 10 suggestions 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.