There aren’t many conditions that are more complex to understand for those who don’t suffer from tinnitus. That’s because unless you actually have tinnitus, you won’t feel, see or hear the symptoms in the same way you might other ailments.
Tinnitus is a very real and extremely difficult experience for the almost 50 million Americans who have it. 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 detectable by others and that could be the most frustrating part of tinnitus, which can lead to confusion, disorientation, depression and delayed diagnosis.
The number is truly astonishing when you consider that 15 percent of the overall public suffers from tinnitus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that approximately 20 million of those people have what’s classified as burdensome chronic tinnitus, while another two million experience symptoms that are extreme and debilitating.
There’s a common connection between loss of hearing and tinnitus, which is why people often turn to hearing aids to augment their hearing and to drown out the ringing. There are commonplace things you can do to reduce the ringing along with wearing hearing aids.
Here are 10 things to stay away from if you have tinnitus:
- Smoking; Smoking is another habit that can raise your blood pressure. Additionally, it can narrow the blood vessels to the ears, which can cause tinnitus symptoms to get worse.
- Poor sleeping habits; Mom wasn’t joking when she said you needed to get eight hours every night. Sleep is another crucial aspect of a healthy life that offers a wide variety of benefits, including helping to avoid tinnitus triggers.
- Loud sounds; It might be obvious but the sounds you’re hearing internally can be made worse by loud sounds. If a situation arises where you will be exposed to loud sounds, be careful. This includes concerts, loud restaurants, and construction sites. Consider shielding your ears with earplugs if you can’t avoid the noise. People who have loud jobs are particularly benefited by ear plugs.
- 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. Because the jaw and ears share components like nerves and ligaments, minimizing jaw pain might have an effect on your tinnitus.
- Alcohol; There’s a well-known adage that says drinking a small amount of wine daily can have a positive influence on heart health and cholesterol levels, and that may be true; however, you absolutely can have too much of a good thing with regards to alcohol and tinnitus. For certain people drinking too much alcohol causes tinnitus symptoms to be more evident because it tends to raise your blood pressure.
- Excess earwax; In the grand scheme of how your ears work, there’s no doubt that earwax plays a positive role. Actually, the crud we all hate actually catches dirt and protects your ears. Even so, tinnitus can get worse if too much wax accumulates. Your doctor may be able to help you relieve some of the buildup and provide prevention tips to ensure it doesn’t accumulate to an unsafe level again.
- Specific medicines; Certain medications such as aspirin, for example, are good at relieving pain but they could also induce tinnitus. Tinnitus can also be impacted by other medication including prescription antibiotics or cancer drugs. However, you should always talk with your physician about any issues you’re having before dropping a prescribed medication.
- Caffeine; Once again, a surge in tinnitus levels comes along with this influence due to a rise in blood pressure. You might also find that too much caffeine changes your sleeping habits.
- 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 certain you’re doing everything you can to reduce your exposure to infections.
- 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 safeguard you from other illnesses. It’s important to note that both high and low blood pressure levels can make your tinnitus worse, so you should be persistent about regularly checking your blood pressure.
Although 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 may 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.