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Advice From Your Audiologist: Things to Avoid That Worsen Tinnitus

Advice From Your Audiologist - Things to Avoid That Worsen Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be an incredibly frustrating condition. For one thing, no one but you can perceive the sound of your tinnitus—whether it be ringing in the ear, buzzing, roaring, or other sounds. Also, there can be many things that can trigger a tinnitus flare-up or worsen your already-present tinnitus.

So, if you are looking to reduce your tinnitus troubles, our doctors of audiology recommend avoiding these ten things so that your tinnitus doesn’t flare up or worsen.

1. Stress Can Make Tinnitus Far Worse

Many people notice that their tinnitus becomes worse as their stress levels increase. As stress rises, so does your cortisol levels. Cortisol—a hormone that is dumped into the bloodstream in response to stress—levels have a direct impact on your tinnitus. Problem is that as you feel more stressed, the worse your tinnitus can become, and as your tinnitus becomes worse, it can add to your stress.

Rather than continuing to contribute to this vicious tinnitus cycle, it is important to make time to fit in relaxation. Even spending just ten minutes on mindful meditation or something equally relaxing can help you reduce some of your stress, though you likely will need to take concrete steps.

2. Loud Sounds And Unprotected Ears Are A Bad Mix

A significant trigger for tinnitus is loud noises on unguarded ears. Your ears are highly sensitive sound detectors, so blasting your favorite music or going target shooting without hearing protection can batter the sensitive hearing hair cells in your inner ear. Not only can this kind of loud sound exposure cause tinnitus to worsen, but it can also contribute to hearing loss.

For personal audio devices, keeping the volume under 60% of the max volume is a good rule to follow, though quieter, the better. As for other activities that will expose you to loud noises, be sure to bring along the right kind of hearing protection for the activity.

3. Built-Up Earwax Can Lead To Tinnitus Flare-Ups

It may sound silly, but your earwax may be causing your tinnitus. As the waxy substance builds up, it can restrict your hearing to the point where tinnitus is triggered. However, don’t go grabbing a cotton swab, as that can actually compact your earwax further and potentially damage your eardrum.

To safely have excess earwax buildup taken care of, our audiologists can remove the wax in-office or provide you with the products to soften and drain out the earwax at home.

4. Ignoring Hearing Loss

What many people don’t realize is the strong link between hearing loss and tinnitus. Over half of people who experience tinnitus will have some level of hearing loss. This loss of hearing can cause your tinnitus to become worse.

By having your hearing tested, you can find the right tinnitus treatment for your needs, which might include the use of hearing aids that have tinnitus management programs installed.

5. Tinnitus As A Side-Effect To Health Issues

Various health issues can trigger tinnitus, particularly problems that impact your blood flow, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. As the regular blood flow to your ears is affected—often reduced—tinnitus can act as an alarm system.

Making lifestyle changes and medication to help control these conditions is generally the recommended route to deal with the health issue and tinnitus.

6. Poor Sleep Quality Increase Tinnitus Symptoms

Your sleep quality can have a direct impact on whether or not your tinnitus becomes worse. With less quality sleep, your body isn’t able to reach the deep, restorative rest state that helps to reset your body. Lack of sleep also contributes to health issues like high blood pressure, which also increases tinnitus symptoms.

Adults should have 7-9 hours of sleep a night. While that can be a lot if you are currently skating by on 4-5 hours, you should work on slowly correcting your sleep schedule to make room for the sleep you need.

7. Your Medication May Be Triggering Tinnitus

Ototoxic—toxic to your hearing—medications can be causing your tinnitus to flare-up. These medications can be as simple as your average over-the-counter pain killer or a prescribed diuretic. The ototoxic effects aren’t always permanent, but if you have noticed your tinnitus has gotten worse, you may want to investigate your medicine cabinet.

Also, as a matter of course, you should avoid illegal drugs. Legality aside, many illicit drugs can have permanent effects on your overall health and hearing.

8. Any Nicotine Intake Can Make Tinnitus Worse

Nicotine in any form is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it causes your blood vessels to constrict and narrow. As your blood vessels become constricted, it can lower the amount of blood flowing to your ears, which in turn, can make your tinnitus far worse.

So, if you smoke cigarettes, vape with nicotine-infused liquid, smoke cigars, use chewing tobacco, or utilize any other form of nicotine, you should work on cutting it out of your life.

9. Untreated Mood Disorders Can Combine With Tinnitus

Untreated tinnitus can trigger anxiety and depression. What is less commonly known is that without treatment, anxiety and depression can trigger tinnitus. As these disorders can feed into each other, it is important to receive treatment.

Whether you need a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or other things, it is important to address untreated mood disorders to prevent your tinnitus from becoming worse.

10. Air Pressure Changes Impact Tinnitus

You might have noticed that your tinnitus becomes worse at certain times of the year or when you take a flight. This tinnitus factor is due to the changes in air pressure. As the air pressure changes, the fluid in your inner ear detects the change and can trigger tinnitus in response.

In this case, there isn’t a whole lot you can do, aside from plan ahead with tinnitus relief strategies. Spring is a particularly turbulent time of year, and air pressure changes often, so at least you can expect your tinnitus to flare-up at that time of year.

Find Tinnitus Treatment In St. George, UT

To work with our experienced doctors of audiology to ensure that you have the right tinnitus treatment for your needs, feel free to contact us today to schedule your consultation. We look forward to helping you live a more tinnitus-free life!

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