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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

12 Things That Cause Tinnitus Flare-Up

12 things that cause tinnitus flare-ups
An essential part of tinnitus treatment and management is knowing what causes your tinnitus to flare-up. By understanding what your tinnitus triggers are, you can better predict and prevent future tinnitus flare-ups.

To help manage your tinnitus more effectively, below are twelve of the main causes for tinnitus flare-ups that our doctors of audiology counsel patients about when helping set up a progressive tinnitus treatment and management plan.

1. Nicotine Use

Smoking and other forms of nicotine use—vaping, chewing tobacco, etc.—can contribute to your tinnitus in a significant way. For one thing, the chemical cocktail found in cigarettes can be incredibly harmful to your inner ear’s delicate sound-transmitting hair cells, damaging both your hearing and triggering tinnitus.

As for nicotine itself, this chemical causes your blood vessels to constrict, which restricts the amount of blood that can flow to your ears and other extremities. As the blood flow is reduced, it can harm your ears and cause a tinnitus flare-up.

2. Exposure To Loud Noises

The most commonly known tinnitus trigger is exposure to loud noises. Sounds that impact the ear at over 85 dB are far more likely to cause a worse tinnitus flare-up, especially if you already struggle with low-grade tinnitus on a regular basis.

This exposure to loud noises can range from attending a concert without hearing protection to using power tools without earplugs or some other form of protection.

3. Poor Dietary Choices

Nutrition can play a role in how often you experience tinnitus flare-ups, especially if you have other health issues that intersect with your dietary choices.

For instance, say that you are a type 2 diabetic. Improper management of this disorder can have a widespread impact on your body, which includes the auditory system, leading to hearing loss, tinnitus, and other issues.

4. Untreated Hearing Loss

With sensorineural hearing loss, the use of hearing aids is essential to correct your hearing loss. But, what some individuals don’t realize is that hearing aids can also help with their tinnitus and assist in managing tinnitus triggers.

Without hearing aids to assist with hearing loss, tinnitus can become worse as there is limited sound input due to hearing loss. So, not only can hearing aids help reconnect you with the world of sound around you, but hearing aids can also be used as portable sound generators to soothe your tinnitus flare-ups.

5. Lack Of Sleep

When you lack the proper amount of sleep—the CDC says adults need 7-9 hours a night—your body will not have rested and rejuvenated enough. Not only does it leave you tired, but it can cause your tinnitus to flare-up in response.

Also, lack of quality sleep can also impact your tinnitus. Individuals with issues such as sleep apnea and other conditions that disturb sleep. Without quality sleep, your body can’t rest properly, and it can trigger a bout of tinnitus.

6. Overconsumption Of Caffeine

Caffeine stimulates your heart to beat faster and for your blood vessels to dilate, increasing the blood flow in your body and contributing to that rush of energy and alertness that most people enjoy when consuming caffeine.

However, this change in blood pressure and flow can lead to a tinnitus flare-up, particularly since there are many high-caffeine concentrated drinks and products that can ramp up your heart rate.

7. Under High Stress

Stress is another huge factor when it comes to tinnitus. The trouble is, living with tinnitus is often stressful, causing a cycle of becoming stressed, having tinnitus flare-up, being stressed by the tinnitus, then experience stressful circumstances. Rinse and repeat for a vicious cycle of dealing with tinnitus that is hard to manage on your own.

Part of what makes stress such a significant factor when it comes to tinnitus is the combination of heightened blood pressure caused by stress and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

8. Take Ototoxic Medications

There are over 200 medications that can harm your hearing. The effects are not always permanent, but even impermanent hearing damage due to ototoxic medications can cause you to experience tinnitus symptoms.

For instance, say you take Tylenol for pain management. This medication is ototoxic, though the effects aren’t permanent. However, the ototoxic nature does mean that it can lead to a flare-up of tinnitus.

9. Excess Alcohol Drinking

Alcohol can act as both a vasodilator (opens blood vessels) and a vasoconstrictor (restricts blood vessels). At the lower levels, alcohol is a vasodilator, which can trigger tinnitus with increased blood flow. However, excess alcoholic indulgence can cause vasoconstriction, leading to hearing damage and tinnitus due to the hearing loss.

For those with severe tinnitus, it may be safer to cut out alcohol entirely to help prevent increased tinnitus symptoms.

10. Seasonal Changes

Changes in the weather can be a trigger for a return of tinnitus symptoms. It is not so much the weather—instead, the barometric pressure is the main trigger. With the changes in the atmospheric pressure, your sensitive ears may react and lead to a tinnitus flare-up. Spring is the most notable for tinnitus-related issues with barometric pressure changes.

Also, seasonal changes aren’t the only times where you will experience changes in atmospheric pressure. While airplane cabins are pressurized, you can still experience air pressure changes enough to cause your tinnitus to act up.

11. Have High Blood Pressure

Vascular conditions such as high blood pressure can be a trigger for tinnitus flare-ups. Even if you take medication to control your high blood pressure, your nutritional and lifestyle choices can still cause your blood pressure to fluctuate enough to cause tinnitus symptoms.

For instance, say you have high blood pressure and tend to consume a high sodium diet. It is far more likely that you will have a tinnitus flare-up due to the increase of blood pressure with the extra sodium in your diet.

12. Experience Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

There is a joint that connects your jawbone to your skull called the temporomandibular joint. When this joint becomes inflamed or locked—due to issues like stress-induced jaw clenching and teeth grinding, misaligned teeth, etc.—you can experience Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).

The physical stress caused by TMJ can also trigger your tinnitus to flare-up. Oddly enough, tinnitus can also cause enough stress and anxiety to lead to TMJ.

Even knowing the things that can cause tinnitus flare-ups is not always enough, and dedicated treatment is needed. If you have been struggling to manage your tinnitus and are looking for qualified help, contact us today to start working with our audiologists to get your tinnitus under your control.

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