Red wine and too much alcohol is just one of the things you should avoid when you have tinnitus.

For people who don’t have tinnitus, there aren’t many 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 would other conditions.

Tinnitus is a very real and extremely challenging experience for the nearly 50 million Americans who suffer from it. Ringing in the ears is the best classification of tinnitus, but according to the American Tinnitus Association, it can present sufferers with buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing and clicking. Maybe the most frustrating part of tinnitus is that these sounds aren’t perceptible by others, which can lead to disorientation, delayed diagnosis, confusion, and depression.

While that 50 million number is large, it’s 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 reports that around 20 million of those people have what’s known 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 frequently turn to hearing aids to augment their hearing and to drown out the ringing. While a hearing aid has shown to be a reliable method of lessening the symptoms connected with tinnitus, there are behavioral actions you can take to decrease the ringing.

Here are 10 things to steer clear of if you have tinnitus:

  • Alcohol; There’s a common adage that states drinking a small glass of wine daily can have a positive influence on heart health and cholesterol levels, and that may be true; however, you definitely can have too much of a good thing when it comes to alcohol and tinnitus. For certain people drinking too much alcohol makes tinnitus symptoms more evident because it tends to increase your blood pressure.
  • Infections; There’s a long-standing commentary about the need to cure the common cold, especially because a lingering cold can quickly morph into a sinus infection. Make certain you’re reducing your exposure to ear and sinus infections because they have can aggravate tinnitus.
  • Particular medicines; Certain medications such as aspirin, as an example, are good at decreasing pain but they may also trigger tinnitus. There are other prescription medications like antibiotics and cancer drugs that can also have an impact on tinnitus. However, you should always consult with your doctor about any issues you’re having before stopping a prescribed medication.
  • 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.
  • Jaw issues; You should seek advice from a doctor if you have jaw pain and even more so if you have tinnitus. Alleviating jaw pain may have some impact on your tinnitus because the jaw and ears share nerves and ligaments.
  • Poor sleeping habits; When mom said you should get your eight hours of sleep each night, she wasn’t kidding. Sleep is another essential aspect of a healthy life that offers a wide range of benefits, including helping to avoid triggers of tinnitus.
  • Caffeine; Here’s yet another influencer of blood pressure that can cause a rise in levels. You may also find that too much caffeine changes your sleeping habits.
  • Loud sounds; It might be obvious but the sounds you’re hearing internally can be exacerbated by loud sounds. If a scenario happens where you will be exposed to loud noises, be cautious. This includes construction sites, concerts, and loud restaurants. If you can’t avoid loud settings, consider using earplugs to shield you from some of the noise. Earplugs can be particularly helpful for people whose job involves working around loud machinery.
  • Excess earwax; When it comes to how your ears work, there’s no doubt that earwax helpful. As a matter of fact, the crud we all hate actually traps dirt and protects your ears. That being said, too much buildup can make tinnitus worse. To make certain it doesn’t build up to an unsafe amount, your doctor can clean some of it out and help with prevention.
  • Dangerous blood pressure levels; Monitoring 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 careful about routinely checking your blood pressure because both high and low blood pressure can worsen tinnitus.

Although there’s no established cure for tinnitus, there are ways to control the symptoms and take back your life. You might be surprised in the changes in your overall health and your tinnitus symptoms if you try these 10 recommendations. If these don’t help, make an appointment with a hearing care professional.

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